Help Save the Kalang Headwaters from Logging

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Nurses and midwives have a responsibility to advocate for the health of our patients and communities. Here, Kevin writes about how local logging efforts are threatening the health of local communities in the Mid-North Coast of NSW. 

The facts on Kalang Headwaters

The mature native forests of the Kalang Headwaters provide a safety and buffer zone to old growth trees and rain forested areas at the head waters of the Kalang River and its tributaries, filtration to the river system, as well as habitat for a myriad of threatened and endangered flora and fauna such as Porsonsia dorigoensis, Koalas, Brush tailed phascogale, Rufous scrub bird, Glossy black cockatoo, Giant spiky crayfish, Giant barred frog, Sphagnum frog and many more.

Logging in this steep fragile environment with a high annual rainfall will inevitably, as it has historically, result in heavy run off and sedimentation of the pristine Roses Creek and the Kalang River. This increased turbidity and associated sedimentation reduces water flows through siltation and smothers aquatic flora and fauna. It is detrimental to aquatic crustaceans, invertebrates, eels and fish including the larvae and crayfish that platypus feed on in the Kalang River system.

Environment groups, community members, businesses and the residents of the Kalang valley, some of whom rely on the river’s clean water for drinking, cooking and the watering of organic crops and stock are united in their goal to have these areas so vital to preserving a healthy water supply protected from an inevitable damage.

In 1992 a Department of Land and Water Conservation (DLWC) report found the Forestry Commission and its contractors had repeatedly breached soil-erosion control guidelines, creating several major landslips on Catbird Road in Oakes State Forest. DLWC estimated that over 88,000 tonnes of soil had been mobilised towards the headwaters of the Bellinger River near Mt Killiekrankie on the NSW Mid North Coast.  In places, whole sections of land and vegetation moved en masse as the foundation rocks sheared. The river’s tributary creeks downslope of roadworks and logging operations were choked with spoil and rubble six feet deep in places. Downstream the creeks ran red with sediments. Evidence of this is still visible today.

The steep terrain of the proposed logging operation in Oakes and Roses Creek SF, is again setting the scene for another possible mass erosion event.

Forestry Corporation is now able to log on steeper slopes, and buffer zones to fourth order streams ha to get to the big, old trees so vital to our threatened species. Extensive forests of big trees are the seed banks for making rain and we need greater protection for our waterways, not less.

The proposed logging by Forestry Corporation in the Headwaters of the Kalang River (Rose’s Creek State Forest and Oakes State Forest) is inconsistent with the protection and conservation of forest values, water quality, water quantity, guaranteed biodiversity and carbon storage required by the Bellingen community. We therefore call on the NSW Government to permanently end logging immediately and create new protected areas From the Kalang State Forests to protect the head waters and tributaries of the Kalang in perpetuity.

What can we do to help?

The local community are attempting to collect 10,000 signatures for a petition, and force a debate in Parliament. You can download the petition here, and drop it off at Bellingen Environment Centre, 1/4 Church St, Bellingen 2454.

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