Comments on South Para Parks Management Plan

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The Department of Environment, Water & Natural Resources is developing a management plan for the South Para Parks, incorporating:  

  •  Para Wirra Recreation Park
  • Hale Conservation Park
  • Warren Conservation Park and
  • Sandy Creek Conservation Park
The South Para Parks are located in the Northern Mount Lofty Ranges, 40km north of Adelaide near the South Para River. These parks protect important habitats and significant flora and fauna species. Para Wirra Recreation Park, together with land managed by ForestySA and SA Water, protects one of the largest contiguous blocks of remant vegetation in the Northern Mount Lofty Ranges.  

The NCSSA provided comments on the Biodiversity and Visitor Use Discussion Papers that will guide development of the management plan for the South Para Parks. 

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Development (Regulated Trees) Amendment Act

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The Society recently reviewed the Development (Regulated Trees) Amendment Act which was passed in late 2009, although the associated regulations are yet to go through Parliament. Changes to the Act include re-classifying the defi nition of a significant and regulated tree, effectively making it easier to remove large trees. At present all trees with a trunk circumference of 2 metres, measured at 1metre above the natural ground level, are protected as signifi cant. Under the proposed changes, signifi cant trees must have a trunk circumference of at least 3 meters. Twenty two species, including Box Elder, Silver Maple, White Poplar and Weeping Willow, won’t be considered signifi cant or regulated regardless of size, while only a handful of species will be protected if they are within 10m of an existing dwelling or pool.

We will keep the membership updated on the ongoing status of the regulations.

NCSSA hosts National Parks Australia Council 2010 AGM

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This year our busy schedule of events in November included hosting the National Parks Australia Council AGM. We were joined by delegates from the National Parks Associations of Queensland, New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and Tasmania for a weekend of meetings to celebrate, review and plan campaigns, share our skills and experience and of course, the usual business of an AGM.

It is always wonderful to meet and work with the good people involved in the National Parks Associations interstate. A particularly exciting outcome of the meeting is our plan to draft a joint, national policy statement regarding visitor, tourism and recreation management in parks.

Native Vegetation Clearance and safety on public roads

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The Society has provided feedback to the Native Vegetation Council Secretariat regarding the development of a framework for native vegetation clearance for safety on public roads. As it currently stands the framework could allow for the clearance of a substantial amount of native vegetation on the State’s road network, in many cases without the requirement for a Signifi cant Environmental Benefi t offset.

We are concerned that the draft framework which has been developed to provide guidance on native vegetation clearance has not been based on a sound and objective evaluation of the risks for biodiversity and the risks and benefi ts for road safety. The decisions have been made and guidelines developed without any modelling or investigation to evaluate their potential impact on the extent and quality of native vegetation on road sides.

Draft Fire Management Plan - Reserves of the Onkaparinga Valley

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The Draft Fire Management Plan states that it "defines objectives for ecological fire management and the protection of life and property, particularly in relation to visitors and adjacent landholders."

While the Plan provides comprehensive detail for the protection of life and property, the Society believes that it has failed to adequately cover some of the over arching principles necessary for the ecological fire management of public reserves that are dedicated to the conservation and protection of native species, populations, communities and habitats. The Society has provided the following specific comments to help to improve the scientific credibility and ecological focus of this document.

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