Local, Science/Environment

Bellingen Environment group reports forest pollution to EPA.

The Bellingen Environment Centre (BEC) has this week  made an incident report of pollution occurring  in Woods Creek in Gladstone State Forest following recent logging and heavy rainfall.   Press release from BEC.

The incident was reported at the corner of Sunny Corner and Woods Creek roads in Gladstone State Forest and followed the failure of erosion prevention measures the Forest Corporation were required to install  there prior to logging.

The requirement to install rubber flaps on either road (Sunny Corner and Woods creek) to deflect runoff and to construct silt mesh retainers at the runoff point is included in the harvest plan for the forest.

The pollution into Woods Creek was first observed and recorded  at 1.40  pm last Tuesday 6 March .

In June 2017 BEC representatives first reported to the NSW Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) failures in implementation of erosion control measures at this site in the Gladstone State Forest. According to BEC spokesperson Ashley Love no results  of that investigation have been provided as yet by to the BEC by the EPA.  The BEC believes that a timely response by the EPA to the first report may have averted the pollution reported this week.

In 2015 The Forest Corporation was fined $15k for causing in excess of 100 cubic meters of sediment to be washed into in the Never Never catchment in February of that year.  In that incident the EPA found the Forest Corporation had failed to deliver appropriate due diligence to its forestry operations and to implement effective erosion and sediment control measures.  Both the Gladstone and Never Never State Forests are both located in the highly erosion prone Nambucca Soil Beds.

The section of Gladstone State forest being logged was assessed by the Forest Corporation in its harvest planning as having dispersal soils with a high inherent hazard level and the presence of mass movement or evidence of soil instability.

“We have recently received recent advice from a highly qualified soil scientist that logging should be removed from all state forests in the Nambucca Soil Beds in  the headwaters of the Bellinger , Kalang and Nambucca Rivers” said a BEC spokesperson.

The Kalang River is the northern limit of the distribution of the giant crayfish (Euastacus spinifer – pictured). A species considered a highly susceptible to turbidity with a high reported incidence  of mortality in the river in recent years.

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