Creating an extended Snobs Creek Wildlife Reserve for nature based tourism

unnamed-4.jpgThe Central Highlands, to the east and north east of Melbourne are an incredible biodiversity hotspot, with varied landscapes, beautiful rivers, and heavily treed mountains with forests of Mountain Ash and remnants of cool temperate rainforest. Sadly, it has been heavily logged for many decades and impacted by bushfires.

In response, local communities and environmental organisations have campaigned to see the region receive adequate protection. At present, the Snobs Creek valley, in the north end of the Central Highlands is a focus of local campaigning. Residents of the area are calling on the state government logging authority, VicForests, to protect an area with high conservation value forests that is due for logging.

The following information comes from Friends of the Snobs Creek Valley and the Rubicon (Snobs Creek Recreation Reserve).

Dry Creek Hill Road is located in Snobs Creek Valley in the Central Highlands.


153593193_265879184992333_6228521633700297031_n.pngIt is just above the spectacular Snobs Creek Waterfall and has one of the most pristine and intact forests in Murrindindi Shire. We urge the government to remove the area from logging schedules and protect it for people’s enjoyment through nature based recreation. There are four coupes which will dramatically alter the visual landscape for people travelling in the Goulburn Valley between Thornton and Eildon. Protecting them will provide a buffer between the foothills and the heavily logged valleys to the south.

We ask the government to remove the coupes “Dry cleaner” (coupe number 288-506-0002), “Gulmarg – (289-502-0002) and "Kinabalu (289-502-0001) and adjoining Coupes (Laundry (288 506 0003), Hills Hoist (288 506 0004), Washboard (288 503 0005) and Dry Spell (288-506-0001) on Dry Creek Hill Road, plus “Curious George” (288-503-0005) and “Lucifer” (288-503-0005) from the logging schedule.  

These areas should be declared an extension of the existing "Snobs Creek Wildlife Reserve”. 

Estimated Date for logging: February-March 2021 

Reasons for taking Coupes “Dry Cleaner”, “Gulmarg' and “Kinabalu" and adjoining 5 coupes plus “Curious George” and “Lucifer” (Map 3) (total of 9) off the logging schedule. 

These coupes:

  • Are biodiversity hotspots. The Victorian Biodiversity Atlas lists recent sightings of numerous vulnerable and threatened species. These sighting have been confirmed as recently as February 2021 when 30 Greater Gliders (Petauroides volans) and several Koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) were found with sensor cameras and spotlight surveys by Citizen Scientists.
  • Are adjacent to other coupes that share the same the biodiversity values that were recognised and protected under the Precautionary Principle (Clause 2.2.2.2 of the Code of Practice for Timber Production 2014) in the Federal Court of Australia 2020 Friends of Leadbeater’s Possum Inc v VicForests case.
  • Are adjacent to areas that the 2019 Flora and Fauna Guarantee (FFG) Action Statement calls for an "Immediate Protection Area" for Greater Glider.
  • Have not been damaged by logging and remain, along with adjoining coupes relatively pristine. They have many trees in each growth stage - senescent and dead stags. These coupes are functionally analogous to Old-Growth Forest, whether they meet the unrealistic two and a half meter diameter required by DELWP and Vicforests for exclusion from logging. 
  • Have numerous big scar trees which may date back to Aboriginal history.  Currently being investigated.
  • Have prolific, intact native understory undisturbed by invasive flora. Logging activity through much of Snobs Creek Valley and the Rubicon-Royston Ranges has resulted in native understory and ground cover being over-run and smothered by blackberries after openings and disturbance by logging and logging vehicles.  
  • Have an abundance of hollow bearing trees and prolific, diverse understory, including substantial stands of silver wattle which means they provide great habitat for the critically endangered Leadbeater’s Possum, Victoria’s fauna emblem. 
  • Considering the density of Leadbeater’s colonies found in this area and high levels of disturbance from timber harvesting and bushfire in the rest of Snobs Creek Valley and the Rubicon, these unlogged, undisturbed coupes provide a perfect refuge.  This area could well be classified as a “Special Management Zone” for Leadbeater’s 1A or 1B Habitat which requires the highest level of protection.
  • Located just above the spectacular, but little known, Snobs Creek Waterfall and Snobs Creek Wildlife Reserve and close to the Mt. Torbreck Scenic Reserve, these two coupes along with others on Dry Creek hill Road are a valuable and much under-utilised “Nature Tourism Hotspot”. The forest above Dry Creek Hill has a wonderful walking track, it is not steep and is accessible by car from Snobs Creek Rd and Dry Creek Hill Rd.  
  • Murrindindi Shire lacks camping and walking facilities for nature recreation and tourism.  The camping grounds and walking areas in the Cathedral Ranges and Rubicon - Kendalls, Boys Camp etc. are overcrowded during holidays and weekends.  Melbourne is less than two hours away and Murrindindi Shire is one of the closest areas of magnificent forests, rivers, and nature. People are seeking nature more than ever since COVID and coming to our area but have limited areas to walk, explore the bush, camp or stay.  
  • Government needs to provide more hiking, camping and nature recreation amenities.  Dry Creek Hill Road has one of the best if not the best, most pristine and intact forest in Murrindindi Shire and must be saved for people’s enjoyment and not for logging.

 

It is no use saying the forest will come back in 100 years.  We will be gone and the forest and the wonderful plants and animals that live there will also be gone.  The young will not experience varied forests, with old growth trees and amazing native animal species.

This is our last chance to save the best forest in Murrindindi Shire.

 

Take action

Please call or email the Environment minister, asking her to ensure protection of the Snobs Creek Valley. She should remove the “Dry cleaner” (288-506-0002), “Gulmarg289-502-0002", "Kinabalu –289-502-0001” and adjoining 4 Coupes on Dry Creek Hill Road, plus “Curious George” and “Lucifer” in Snobs Creek Valley from the logging schedule. These areas should be declared an extension of the existing "Snobs Creek Wildlife Reserve”. 

Send a short email or call the minister’s office and ask to leave a short message.

lily.dambros[email protected]

03 9637 9504

 

Further information

Lea Jellinek 03 57747239, 0439 620 323. [email protected]

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