Open letter: Nowa Nowa- Nelsons Rd Burn 2BNN0029 – request pause and review

Dear Ms Eagleson,

Gippsland Environment Group is very concerned about a scheduled burn due to be ignited in East Gippsland along the Ramsar listed Lake Tyers downstream of the township of Nowa Nowa ( Nowa Nowa –Nelsons Rd – 2BNN0029).

This planned burn (260ha) is located in Lake Tyers State Park and borders the Nowa Nowa arm of Lake Tyers, a part of the Ramsar listed Gippsland Lakes. It has not been burnt for more than 60 years. Previous DELWP burns in the Lake Tyers State Park have incinerated a Sooty owl nest and burnt vegetation right down to the lake shore.

Another burn adjacent to the township destroyed a number of large habitat trees and the amenity of the Nowa Nowa Mountain Bike trail.

We wish to respectfully request an immediate pause on any plans to ignite the burn and that DELWP undertake on-ground surveys to ensure the protection of the site’s ecological values:

  • Current conditions are very dry and reliance on the moisture differential to protect the Warm Temperate Rainforest stands and Riparian Forest, combined with use of aerial incendiaries risks incinerating the whole area;
  • The burn plan has not excluded a section of the Limestone Box woodland in the southeast corner and the dozed boundary has crossed through the EVC;
  • There are a number of Yellow-bellied Glider feed trees in the south-east gully bordering the dozed fire break-line at S37° 45.8’ E148°7.8 and Yellow bellied gliders were heard immediately west of here on night of 15.2.17;
  • Yellow-bellied gliders were also seen and heard on western side of Nelsons Rd (across from the cleared land-forest boundary on east side road) on night of 15.2.17. Locals have frequently heard and seen yellow-bellied gliders point crossing Nelsons Rd at this point entering to and from the burn area;
  • There is an eagles nest on the spur running east from the mouth of Ironstone Creek at S37°44.30 E148°.6.24. There also other Yellow-bellied glider feed trees in this area;
  • An extensive stand of Silver Banksia is located in the gully that runs east on the southern side of the eagle’s nest;
  • Many large old Saw Banksias occur throughout the burn area but there are many of varying age as well, burning this site will eliminate this age differentiation and destroy a key food source for nectar-feeding mammals;
  • There are many old habitat trees throughout the whole burn area but DELWP have only raked or dozed around those hollow trees immediately adjacent to the road;
  • Long unburnt forest in East Gippsland is preferred habitat of potoroos and bandicoots but no DELWP mammal surveys have been conducted;
  • Long unburnt forest is now a rarity in Gippsland and must be protected.

It is unfortunate that our request to walk through the burn area with DELWP burn staff was refused, this area is of very high ecological significance.

We urge the Department to intervene to ensure that this burn is re-assessed and the biodiversity at the site is completely protected.

Yours sincerely

Louise Crisp

Gippsland Environment Group

  • Planned burn area