The Gippsland Lakes remain gravely ill. One response by the government has been the creation of a new on-line forum that asks for public comment on our Lakes management. It has the joyful title of GLEE (Gippsland Lakes E-Engagement). The concept is great and if you’re interested in having a say (currently looking at the Ramsar listing) you can register here. But some are saying it should be called ‘DESPAIR’.
GLEE has set off a lot of local people’s BS detectors. Is it a Tim Bull P.R. stunt ahead of the election via some untalented ministerial advisory committee that will give the illusion of concern for public opinion?
There are over 30 bodies and authorities which have a finger in the Lakes management pie, yet the lakes ecology continues to decline. No one is properly monitoring the rate and intensity of decline and no one is providing funding for this.
The Lakes should be fresh water to brackish, but there are now five species of shark and stingrays, squid as well as a sea turtle and seals. This shows the dredging has turned a unique freshwater chain of lakes into a marine system.
All the way around the Lakes, the fringing wetlands are under pressure from salt. Why? Because the entrance is being maintained at TWICE the depth it was; historically a maximum of three metres. Now they are maintaining that depth to around five metres and doubling the tidal speed and allowing a massive intrusion of salt. This allows the deeper draft ESSO service vessels to access the Lakes Entrance port.
Restored wetland in line for destruction?
Heart’s Morass has just been reclaimed after a $2.5M investment and we now have a continuous wetland from the South Gippsland Highway all the way to Lake Wellington (destroyed by cattle grazing over 100 yrs ago). This is just in time to be destroyed by the salt water intrusion which has entered the Latrobe River and threatens to destroy this new rehabilitated wetland. Historically this area is rumoured to have supported Royal Spoonbills and even Magpie Geese.
Dowd’s Morass on the south side of the Latrobe River is also a very important area with marvellous habitat. It is ironically protected by unexploded ordinance (it is part of the RAAF bombing range!) but even this won’t protect it from salt intrusion.
More info here.