Logging has been stopped for the second time in one week in the Goongerah forest block.
Last week VicForests were forced to stop logging at Mt. Jersey after GECO raised concerns with the state government about the threat logging posed to the endangered large brown tree frog and the unlawful nature of the operation that had commneced without a survey for protected species.
After exiting Mt. Jersey, VicForests moved into old growth forest on Yalmy rd in the Goongerah water catchment. This coupe is just 1.5kms from a recent detection of the endangered large brown tree frog and forms important habitat for a number of rare and threatened species. GECO conducted a survey of the creek lines and found several Endangered Orbost Spiny crayfish.
The Orbost spiny crayfish is listed as Endangered. Victorian law requires a protection zone to be made for the species where it is found. This consists of a 100m buffer on the watercourse it is found in. The protective buffer zone extends 1km upstream and downstream from where the detection was made.
Crayfish were detected in both the western and eastern streams. GECO and Fauna and Flora Research Collective submitted a report on Monday morning and by Monday evening logging was forced to stop to comply with the the law. Read the report here.
VicForests did conduct a survey in this coupe but failed to find the endangered crayfish and commenced logging anyway. Logging had already occurred within 100m of the creeks and a road has been constructed over the creek on the eastern boundary. Significant damage to the endangered crayfish habitat has already been done but thankfully about 80% of the forest remains intact.
VicForests clearly cannot be trusted to meet their legal obligations to protect threatened species habitat before logging commences. Until the state government play a more active role in scrutinising their logging plans and conducting surveys for threatened species themselves, we can expect more illegal logging of endangered species habitat.
Take action by emailing the Environment Minister Lily D'Ambrosio calling on her to make her department (DELWP) conduct their own surveys for threatened species before allowing VicForests to log.