PARK WATCH June 2020 |

The first threatened species detection report has been submitted for the west, shares Nature Conservation Campaigner Jordan Crook.

In late March (pre-COVID-19 restrictions) VNPA volunteers and local conservationists conducted citizen science survey work in the Mount Cole Forest. Their focus was the Mount Cole Grevillea, recently listed as threatened under the state’s main threatened species law the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (FFG Act) after nomination by VNPA. They set out to understand its distribution, and if its populations were further threatened by the increase in logging activity and intensity at Mount Cole.

VNPA volunteers mapped a population of Mount Cole Grevillea beside and within an area set to be logged on Mount Cole Road beside Coupe 185-537-0104 (Archie’s Lookout Road). They also found an individual Grampians Bitter-pea (listed as threatened under the FFG Act and vulnerable under the national Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999) beside the coupe. We have now submitted a ‘threatened species detection report’ to the Forest Reports team at the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) with these important findings.

We have recommended a Special Protection Zone of 200 metres around the plant populations. Special Protection Zones are given to other rare grevillea species such as the Colquhoun Grevillea and Gippsland Rock Grevillea within areas to be logged. These zones range from 200-250 metres.

There is no way of logging this area without severely impacting both Mount Cole Grevillea and Grampians Bitter-pea recovery.

We hope this threatened species detection report will lead to greater scrutiny of logging operations in the seemingly forgotten forests of the west.

Our nature campaigner Jordan Crook recently went back to Mount Cole to see how this modest but glorious plant was faring. We are pleased to report that during this recent site inspection the Grevillea had been roped off.

A special thank you to all the citizen science volunteers who helped with the Mount Cole survey work.

Read more about the continued logging in the central west in ‘Forgotten forests’.

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