South East Local Land Services officers recently began cutting down and piling up riparian willow trees from a section of Monkittee Creek, on private land, just outside of Braidwood township.
This is exactly the kind of behaviour that Flood Creek Non-Nativist Landcare Group was formed to protest. This second wave of environmental vandalism currently gripping our government agencies is no different to the deforestation incentives of the 1800’s. In the very near future it will be looked upon with intense shame and regret by anyone with an environmental conscience. I’ll provide a bit more background and context on this particular project in the near future. For now, here are three hasty photos to give some perspective of the destruction site, and a copy of Peter Marshall’s excellent letter from the Braidwood Times this week. More to follow on this.
Was it Einstein who said that one definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result? On that measure LLS has become completely unhinged out on the Little River Road.
There one can see the stumps of big old willows. Those trees were habitat for birds, bats, frogs and fish. Now they are poisoned, downed and stacked for burning. The Monkittee Creek banks lie completely exposed to the next downpour. Once protective willow root plates are rotting and whole chunks of bank will fall into the stream. Timber is not being used as revetments to protect new plantings. It will be burned to contribute greenhouse gasses, all the wildlife that has taken refuge under the piles will be burnt to death.
No doubt LLS are working on a press release. It will be the standard discredited Listicle. “Five Reasons Why Willows Are Such A Demon Weed That They Must Be Destroyed At Any Environmental And Dollar Cost!!” “Willows Cause Erosion!!” “Willows Cause Floods.” The same old strident simplistic generalisations.
The evidence is plain at sites around the shire that ripping out ecostructures wholesale just results in warmed deoxygenated water, failed plantings, ivy and privet infestation and reactivated erosion. Not to mention a total waste of public money. Did I hear $60 thousand for this latest outrage ? How much money has been allocated for the years of management now needed to restabilise the site? The same amount of labour and skilled excavator time could have seen the shire build hectares of world class wetland.
A mining company or individual exposing vulnerable ground to sediment wash and erosion would have attracted the council compliance officers and EPA within days. By what bylaw is LLS exempt from such attention?
A group of scientists from around the world are convening in Braidwood early May to complete a book on the peculiar Australian institution of the Willow War. The above project will provide terrific photo ops for such a book. Braidwood will be famous, for the wrong reasons. No doubt the Willow Warriors (a term proudly used in USLC newsletter) will be delighted to be interviewed for an international readership.
Anyone who wishes to contribute may contact this writer and will be
introduced to the researchers.
Yours, Peter Marshall