NEFA Audit of Gibberagee SF Reveals Major Illegal Works
NEFA is calling on both Fisheries NSW and the Environment Protection Authority to prosecute the Forestry Corporation for recklessly trashing habitat of the Endangered Purple-spotted Gudgeon and the Endangered Ecological Community Sub-tropical Coastal Floodplain Forest revealed in a weekend audit of Gibberagee State Forest.
"When the Forestry Corporation threatened me with a $2,200 fine if I returned to complete my audit of Gibberagee State Forest I knew they had something bad to hide, so we went back into the forest on Sunday to see if we could find it", said NEFA auditor Dailan Pugh.
"After years of auditing, I was shocked when we came across streams and endangered ecological communities that had been literally trashed near Mangrove Creek on the Clarence River floodplain.
"After the EPA botched their prosecution of the Forestry Corporation for logging the Endangered Ecological Community Sub-tropical Coastal Floodplain Forest revealed by NEFA in Doubleduke State Forest in 2010, they spent millions of Environmental Trust monies mapping it and other Endangered ecosystems so that the Forestry Corporation could protect them from logging.
Endangered Ecological Community in Gibberagee State Forest- trashed.
"The EPAs mapping is included in the Gibberagee harvesting plan so I assumed there would be no way the Forestry Corporation would log it again. I couldn't believe it when we found that it had been so badly trashed that it appeared the Forestry Corporation were trying to eliminate it.
"Similarly a fortune has been spent on remapping streams and fish habitat to enable the Forestry Corporation to better protect Endangered fish. Last May Fisheries NSW identified potential habitat of the Endangered Purple-spotted Gudgeon as occurring in Gibberagee State Forest, requiring that buffers be applied to all streams, including those newly mapped.
"I expected to find some logging into the buffers of the recently mapped streams, but I did not expect to find that there would be no buffers and that the streams would be totally trashed.
"These are not trivial offences, they display a total contempt for our endangered fish and ecosystems. The regulatory authorities must prosecute them" Mr. Pugh said.
The NEFA audit of Gibberagee can be found here.