Victoria's North East Forests Report

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Fauna of the Australian Alps - Environmental Education Insert July 1996

“The diversity of vegetation in the Australian Alps provides habitats for a wide range of animals, both native and introduced.

Living on the timbered slopes and open plateaus of the Alps are more than 40 species of native mammals, around 200 of birds, 30 of reptiles, 15 of frogs, 14 kinds of native fish and many species of invertebrates.

The distribution of a species is largely related to its habitat requirements, which are different for each. Sometimes habitat provided by features such as scattered rock outcrops or decaying logs. Usually more important, however, is the presence of vegetation necessary for food and shelter. Factors that influence the type of vegetation in an area, such as topography, soil type and temperature, therefore indirectly govern the distribution of animal populations.



What lives in the Alps?


The diversity of mammals is greatest in the forests and woodlands of the mountain slopes. Here are the large browsing and grazing marsupials such as the Common Wombat, Red-necked Wallaby, Swamp Wallaby and Eastern Grey Kangaroo. All are widespread throughout the Australian Alps.

The Brushtailed Rock-Wallaby, is rare and restricted in Victoria, confined to colonies on rocky cliffs in the Upper Snowy area of the Alps, and to the Grampians in western Victoria. Smaller mammals living in the forests of the Alps include the rare Smoky Mouse, the Long-nosed Bandicoot, and marsupial carnivores such as the Brown and Swainson’s Antechinus and the Tiger Quoll.

Tree-dwelling marsupials include possums such as the Common Brushtail, Bobuck, Ringtail and Eastern Pygmy-possum, and the range of gliding possums. Much less common than any of these is Leadbeater’s Possum, found only in mature forests of Mountain Ash and Alpine Ash.

Bats are common in the high country. There are nine species of tree-dwelling insectivorous bats, including Gould’s Wattled Bat, the Lesser Long-eared Bat and the Chocolate Wattled Bat. Few colonies of cave-dwelling bats are recorded for the area, and the only fruit-eating bats known in the high country are summer visitors, Grey-headed Flying Foxes.

Only one mammal species, the Mountain Pygmy-possum, is restricted to the alpine and subalpine zones. This small resilient creature lives in a special alpine community with three other small mammals: the Bush Rat, the Broad-toothed Rat and Swainson’s Antechinus. Unlike the Pygmy-possum, these other three are widespread. The Broad-toothed Rat, once widespread throughout southern and south-eastern Australia, is now restricted to scattered areas, including the Alps.

Except for wombats and echidnas, larger mammals are generally absent from the alpine zone.


Australia does not have a distinctive alpine avifauna, probably because of the limited extent of our mountains. Many of the typical birds of lowland grasslands and forests are commonly observed in the high alps during summer. Some of these are seen at the highest elevations: the Australian Kestrel, Spur-winged Plover, Australian Pipit, White-browed Scrubwren, Flame Robin, Pied Currawong, Grey Currawong and Little Raven. Others are more common below the treeline, such as the Gang-gang Cockatoo, Crimson Rosella, Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Grey Fantail and Yellow-faced Honeyeater.


Three main factors influence the distribution of reptiles in the Alps: temperatures, availability of sunshine and basking sites, and presence of suitable protection from low temperatures in winter. Some of the highest lizard densities recorded in Australia occur around alpine summits, where it is not uncommon to see lizards basking on rocks in the heat of a summer day.

Reptiles found trhoughout the country include the Tree Dragon, McCoy’s Skink, Grass Skink, Water Skink, Southern Blue Tongue and Copperhead Snake.

Two species found particularly at high altitudes are the Alpine Water Skink, found in Sphagnum bogs, and the She-oak skink, recorded in subalpine woodland.


The mountain country is an ideal habitat for many frogs: it is a moist environment with generally pollution-free water. Half the frog species in Victoria are found in the high country. Two species are restricted to the alpine and subalpine zones - the Baw Baw Frog in Victoria and the Corroboree Frog in NSW and ACT. Both are at risk from changes to their habitat.


Invertebrates are a vital part of any ecosystem. They provide food for higher animals, parasite other animals, pollinate plants and consume living or dead plant and animal material.

Some insects live in the alpine zone; others migrate there in summer. Most residents are dormant in winter. In summer they become active and join the summer migrants to form an abundant and varied community. Examples are the Long-horn Mountain Grasshopper, Wingless Cockroach, the Snow Grass feeding Alpine Case Moth and Alpine Grass Caterpillar, and the Alpine Silver Xenica Butterfly.

One fascinating insect associated with the alpine environment is the Bogong Moth. In late summer Bogong Moths migrate to the high country from the lowlands where they breed and feed. There they cluster in rock crevices and caves, and remain dormant over summer. This is called aestivation or summer hibernation. At dusk during migration the air can vibrate with the wingbeats of hundreds of thousands of moths that fill the air in a moving black mass.

Insectivorous animals such as the Mountain Pygmy-possum make the most of this rich food source, ad build up fat reserves for the oncoming winter period. Bogong Moths were an important food source for Koories (Aboriginal people) in this part of Australia, and were probably a main reason for their entering the alpine area.

Living in the alpine zone

The vertebrate fauna at higher elevations is not diverse compared with that in other ecosystems. Animals living in this environment have to contend with a long winter season, when food availability and temperatures are low, and the ground is snow-covered. In addition there are not many trees to provide habitat. However, some animal species have developed means to cope with this harsh environment.

One strategy is to live entirely under the snow during winter. As snow falls and covers the vegetation, particularly in heathy and boulder-strewn environments, there is space between the ground and the snow in which small mammals can forage and move. Temperatures remain constant under the snow even though they vary greatly in the open air. The Mountain Pygmy-possum, Bush Rat, Broad-toothed Rat and antechinuses survive in this way.

During the coldest part of the season some animals hibernate. Hibernation and torpor are other adaptions for coping with cold. In both cases the body metabolism of the animal shuts down almost completely; only the core is kept functioning. The result is a much-reduced metabolic rate requiring minimal energy and thus no food. Hibernation is long term and induced by a seasonal trigger. Torpor is controlled by external temperatures and can be short or long term. Many animals living in this alpine zone, particularly reptiles and amphibians, become inactive. Mountain Pygmy-possums hibernate during the coldest part of the season.

Communal living and nesting is one way of keeping warm in the winter. Lizards have been found hibernating in groups of more than a hundred in the centre of Snow Gum logs during winter. Most small mammals nest communally in the alpine and subalpine zones.

Migration is a fourth survival strategy, used mainly by birds and flying insects. Studies show that less than half the species of birds found in the summer months stay during winter. Birds such as Pink Robins, Flame Robins and Pied Currawongs leave the alpine zone and move to lower altitude areas. This is called altitudinal migration. Other birds such as the Brush Cuckoo, Satin Flycatcher and Olive-backed Oriole migrate north to warmer latitudes. They all return to the high country in summer to feast on the abundant alpine vegetation and flowers that briefly appear, and on insects attracted to the flowering plants.

Effects of landuse on fauna

Land use in the Australian Alps brings changes to the environment. Any such change can change the quality of habitat for particular wildlife. In some instances the habitat is so greatly changed that it no longer provides adequately for a particular community or individual species that occur only in restricted areas.

Three species are confined to the alpine and subalpine zones - the Mountain Pygmy-possum, the Corroboree Frog and the Baw Baw Frog. They are restricted not just to this zone but to particular vegetation communities within it. The protection of the special habitats of these three species is therefore essential for their continued existence.

People’s activities in the Alps threaten habitat in several ways. Past land uses have left a legacy of feral animals which have significant impacts on alpine habitat. They include feral horses (brumbies), hares, pigs, goats and dogs. Hard-hooved animals damage soils, grazing animals compete with native browsing animals, and dogs prey on other wildlife.

Damage to vegetation and soils through stock grazing, resort development abd establishment of hydro-electricity schemes is widespread. Local deterioration of water quality in streams and rivers is caused by the presence of stock, careless waste disposal from resorts, and the growing numbers of walkers, camping along streams.

Another threat is the changes to natural flow regimes of streams. (The flow regime is the variation over time in the amount of water flowing down a stream). A number of animals have adapted to live in streams and rivers dependent on particular flow regimes and their life cycles. Many plants living on the banks of streams are also adapted to particular flow regimes. Damming of the rivers of the high country has changed the natural flow regimes. . .


Australia’s Wildlife Heritage (1975) Vol 4. Lansdowne Press.

Barlow, B.A. (1986) Flora and Fauna of Alpine Australasia, Ages and Origins. CSIRO.

Dixon, J.M. Mammals of the Australian Alps a brief review of past work, with a view to the future. Victorian Naturalist Vol 9.

Land Conservation Council, Victoria (1977). Alpine Study Area Report, Melbourne.

Malone, B.S. (1985) Technical Report Series No. 36 Status, distribution and ecology of the Baw Baw Frog, Philoria frosti, Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research.

Mansergh, I., Kelly, P. and D. Scotts (1987) Technical Report Series No. 53. Draft management strategy and guidelines for the conservation of the mountain Pygmy-possum, Burramys parvus, in Victoria. Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research.

Mansergh, I. (1991) Action Statement No, 2. Mountain Pygmy-possum. Flora and Fauna Guarantee. Department of Conservation and Environment.

Nankin, H. (1983) Victoria’s Alps. An endangered heritage. Australian Conservation Foundation.

Osborne, W.S. (1989) Distribution, relative abundance and conservation status of Corroboree Frogs. Pseudophryne corroboree. Australian Wildlife Research 16:537-47.”

Right, January 2002: Coupe 12/591/501/0001. This is a firewood coupe, and it adjoins 12/592/504/0002 (East View1) - a sawlog coupe. 40 cubic metres of firewood will be extracted from MFP1 in 2002 with 340 cubic metres of logs coming from East View 1. Both coupes lie on the Stanley Plateau in the headwaters of the Myrtle Creek catchment. Myrtle Creek lies in the Ovens River catchment, the prime Murray Cod river in Victoria.

Below - December 2001: This coupe will be logged in 2003/4. Coupe No: 12/686/510/0012. Mt Wills Creek. Alpine Ash coupe 80% of which will be woodchipped.














Right - December 2001: This coupe will be logged in 2003/4. Coupe No: 12/686/510/0012. Mt Wills Creek. Alpine Ash coupe 80% of which will be woodchipped.



Threatened Fauna of North East Victoria

North East Victoria endangered species

Some species threatened by logging activities in North East Victoria are listed under Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act Action Statements. Many threatened species however are still listed as threatened but the Department have not yet written action statements;

Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act Action Statements (See DNRE website):

Mountain pygmy possum - no 2

Spotted Tiger quoll - no 15

Trout cod - no 38

Regent honey eater - no 41

Long-footed potoroo - no 58

Brush-tailed Phascogale - no79

powerful owl - no 92

Spider orchids - no 103

Spotted tree frog - no 112.

Macquarie Perch -

Species without action statements

Yellow-bellied Glider

Sooty Owl

Carpet Python

Tree Goanna

Bandy Bandy

Red Throated Skink

Information links to species not listed under FFG Action Statements, but listed by the Threatened Species Network.

Swift Parrot Lathamus discolor " NRECPA.nsf/0000/a7c1e568313976404a25680a000f3252?OpenDocument" \l "Endangered"


Long-footed Potoroo Potorous longpipes "

2eb1e24180fafd3d4a2568090022b163?OpenDocument" \l "Endangered" .

Mountain Pygmy-possum Burramys parvus "

61678967080116cf4a25680900269fff?OpenDocument" \l "Endangered"

Regent Honeyeater Xanthomyza phrygia


aa5a39d8fb76f28e4a2568090026a070?OpenDocument" \l "Endangered"

Squirrel Glider Petaurus norfolcensis "

76cc12a60d4718ca4a2568090026a17a?OpenDocument" \l "Endangered"

Flora and fauna at risk from logging in Victoria’s north east

Beechworth Environment Group 23 Oct 1998

“The endangered Tiger Quoll has recently been found on the Stanley plateau where logging is occurring, according to the Beechworth Environment Group. Linda Davis and Graham Ellis found the Tiger Quoll to be inhabiting the Mixed Species forest on the Stanley plateau some months ago. However while the Department of Natural Resources have confirmed that there is a viable population of Tiger Quoll in the forests around Beechworth and Stanley, there has been no mention made of that fact in the recently published Comprehensive Regional Assessment.

January 2002. Coupe 12/591/501/0006 (Verns 6) to be logged in 2002 with a yield of 360 cubic metres of sawlog (of which over half will end up as woodchips) and 50 cubic metres of residuals. All up about 60% of this mixed species forest type in the headwaters of Yackandandah Creek will be woodchipped. This area lies outside the Lake Hume catchment. Yackandandah Creek flows into the Kiewa River about 10km south east of Wodonga.

In the north east, the timber harvesting is considered a major threat to the Long Footed Potoroo, Yellow bellied glider, Sooty Owl, Powerful Owl, Carpet Python and the Tree Goanna. The list goes on," Mr McIntyre says: "there will be habitat loss for the Spotted Tree Frog, the Regent Honey Eater, Bandy Bandy and Red throated skink and many more." "49 species of fauna are listed as at a high risk ofextinction" says Mr McIntyre. "Flora is also considered at risk with 166 species listed as of conservation significance. There are also 46 ecological vegetation classes all listed as endangered, vulnerable or rare."

Frances Gladstone, a longtime resident of Beechworth-Stanley, has submitted a letter (attached) listing 178 varieties of birds found in Stanley including the following rare birds:

Rufous Fantail

Regent Honey Eater

Black Honey Eater

Crescent Honey Eater

Leeuwin Honey Eater (in gardens)

Red Capped Robin

Chestnut tailed Ground Wren

Native Orchids (51 varieties) are listed by Frances Gladstone.

January 2002. Coupe 12/591/501/0006 (Verns 6) to be logged in 2002 with a yield of 360 cubic metres of sawlog (of which over half will end up as woodchips) and 50 cubic metres of residuals. All up about 60% of this mixed species forest type in the headwaters of Yackandandah Creek will be woodchipped. This area lies outside the Lake Hume catchment. Yackandandah Creek flows into the Kiewa River about 10km south east of Wodonga.

As Frances Gladstone comments "This area is noted for its species of native orchid. It is not known that any other area in Victoria has the variety of native orchids noted here". There have been 15 acacias found, 60 trees and more than 200 wildflowers and the list is not completed. Rare shrubs and flowers in the Stanley forest include: Daviesia Buxifolia Trailing shaggy pea a rare Oxylobium Slender Stackhousia (Vimeinea) Spider Orchid Hybrid Sun Orchid (endangered in NSW and should be as endangered rather than vulnerable in Victoria as is currently the case. Other sources advise that the Stanley Plateau is only one of four places where the Hybrid Sun Orchids are found”.


January 2002: Coupe 12/676/512/0003 (Gibb Gum) located on the Gibb Range Road just over the road from the Wabba Wilderness Park. Due to be logged in 2002. Listed by the DNRE as an Alpine Ash coupe!? 80% of these logged trees will end up as woodchips.



Sourced from Regional Forest Agreement


“The biodiversity assessment is based on a study of forest ecosystems and communities (ecological vegetation classes or EVCs), flora and fauna species and their habitats and the potential threats to these in the region.

The North East region is one of great environmental diversity, with vegetation ranging from the drier Box Ironbark communities of the plains to tall ash forests and the alpine herbfields of the high country along the Great Dividing Range. The regional assessment identified 133 different environmental 'strata', or units sharing similar environmental factors such as temperature, rainfall and geology, 83 of which were forested and large enough to evaluate.

Across these strata, 58 EVCs were identified. Thirty-one are predominantly on private land, with the remaining 27 mainly on public land. Information is provided about the extent to which each EVC is currently protected within conservation reserves. Forty-six were recognised as rare, endangered or vulnerable. Some may never have been widespread, but for many their current status is connected with past land-use, particularly clearing for agriculture, and most occur largely on private land. Plains Grassy Woodland, for example, which once covered over 200 000 hectares in the region, has been reduced to less than one per cent of its former extent.

Rare and endangered species

About 2,000 species of vascular (higher order) plants have been recorded for the North East region, including 166 species of conservation significance. At least 24 of these are rated as critically endangered including six which have a significant proportion of their remaining populations in the North East. In all, the assessment highlighted 15 species as deserving of regional priority for management. The assessment identified 34 species of mammals, reptiles, birds and frogs in the North East which are rare or threatened. These include the Long-footed Potoroo, discovered in the North East in 1995, and the Spotted Tree Frog, which is known to occur in only 13 discrete populations: 11 in Victoria and two in New South Wales.

While the populations of many of the species studied have decreased in the past 10 years, some, including those of the Mountain Pygmy-possum, Barking Owl, Powerful Owl and Glossy Black-Cockatoo, are thought to have stabilised. The range of the Turquoise Parrot, which experienced a drastic decline during early European settlement, appears to be expanding.

The assessment also noted that, with some exceptions, little is known about the terrestrial invertebrates of the region.

The biodiversity assessment reviewed factors that may predispose flora and fauna species to decline or extinction, as well as the impacts of disturbances such as timber harvesting and fire, and the current management in place to mitigate these effects.

Of the aquatic fauna reviewed, eight species of fish (including the Barred Galaxias and the Trout Cod) and ten macroinvertebrates are considered threatened. The main disturbances identified were vegetation clearing, construction of dams, grazing and introduced exotics, such as trout. Increased turbidity, from whatever cause, is the single most significant threat to populations. The creation of Heritage River corridors and the application of the Code of Forest Practices For Timber Production are aimed at reducing some of these impacts.

January 2002: Logging coupe near Mount Cudgewa: Coupe No: 12/673/001/0012. This coupe includes mixed species old growth as seen in photograph and will be logged in 2003/4. About 85% of this forest will be converted into woodchips.

Old-growth Forest

Analysis of forest age classes through the use of aerial photography, together with assessment of past disturbances using logging, fire and other historical records, was used to identify the old-growth forest of the North East. Old-growth is defined as 'forest which contains significant amounts of its oldest growth stage in the upper stratum - usually senescing trees - and has been subjected to any disturbance, the effect of which is now negligible'.

About 21 per cent (261,000 hectares) of the region's forested public land has been identified as old-growth. The assessment found that old-growth occurs in 14 EVCs in the region, with six accounting for 93 per cent of the total area. Old-growth is by no means confined to the taller wet forests, but can be found in a number of the drier, more open forest types. Information is provided about the extent to which old-growth in each EVC is currently protected within conservation reserves.


The 1996 Wilderness Assessment of the Eastern Victorian Forests found five areas of high wilderness quality (Dartmouth, Indi Addition to Pilot and Davies Plain, Wabba, Yarrarabulla Creek and Razor/Viking) within the region, with three of them fully contained within the dedicated reserve system. The Dartmouth area is partially contained within the dedicated reserve system as is part of the Yarrarabulla Creek area with the remainder of the latter protected by an Order in Council as a Remote and Natural Area.

Ninety five per cent of the total area delineated as significant for high wilderness quality in the Eastern Victorian forests region is protected. The National Reserve criteria (JANIS 1997) specify that 90% (or more, if practicable) of the area of high quality wilderness that meets the minimum area requirements should be in reserves.

World Heritage

January 2002: Coupe 12/676/512/0003 (Gibb Gum) located on the Gibb Range Road just over the road from the Wabba Wilderness Park. Due to be logged in 2002. Listed by the DNRE as an Alpine Ash coupe!? 80% of these logged trees will end up as woodchips.

The World Heritage Assessment expert panel identified five potential sub-themes in Victoria which warrant further investigation. Two of these sub-themes are potentially relevant to the North East region: areas with outstanding examples of Eucalyptus-dominated vegetation associated with the Eastern Forests of Victoria; and parts of the Australian marginal swells associated with the Eastern Highlands. Any assessment of potential World Heritage values would need to be undertaken in a context broader than that of the North East RFA, as the expression of these sub-themes extends to other Victorian RFA regions and areas beyond Victoria. The Commonwealth and Victoria remain committed to carrying out such an assessment in co-operation with all relevant States”.


Alpine Crayfish

Ecological considerations.

In regards to Wheelers Creek (FFG listed crayfish - to be nominated in 2002 - Euastacus crassus Alpine Spiny Crayfish) is found in this creek as well as 2 spined blackfish and mountain galaxias. Habitat for these animals is severely impacted by sedimentation.

Alpine Spiny Crayfish (Euastacus crassus):

*found in alpine/sub alpine areas at altitudes of approximately 900 metres (maybe a little less) and above.

*is extremely rare

*all crayfishes are threatened by the degradation of streamside vegetation and habitat degradation such as sedimentation.

*is present at the top of the north flowing drainages (eg to the Murray) and also the southern flowing drainages (ie to East Gippsland).

*it has a final recommendation for listing under the FFG Act, which should be signed by the Minister in the near future.

Useful crayfish quotes;

“clearing of streambanks have also contributed to changes in the benthic materials and communities on which crayfishes feed, ...” (Merrick, 1993 p84). Merrick recommends the “restoration and rehabilitation of damaged river banks through revegetation” (Merrick 1993 p.95)

Reference: Merrick, J.R. 1993.Freshwater Crayfishes of New South Wales.Linnean Society of New South Wales: Milson’s Point, NSW.

FFG Final Recommendation for Listing

Criterion 1.2 “The species is vulnerable to population decline resulting from habitat loss and modification. Major threats are any activities which damage stream banks (cattle trampling) or alter natural water regimes or quality (eg infrastructure associated with river regulation). . .

Criterion 1.3 “E. crassus is an extremely rare spiny cray. There are only two records of the taxon in the Atlas of Victorian Wildlife.

Very little is known about the biology and habitat requirements of this species and life histories of only a few spiny crays are available. E. crassus is classified as ‘rare’ in Victoria (CNR 1995) and the IUCN has classified the taxon as ‘endangered B1+2c’ (Baillie and Groombridge 1996) ie. ‘...extent of occurrence estimated to be less than 5000km2 or area of occupancy estimated to be less than 500km2, and estimates indicating (a) severely fragmented population or known to exist at no more than five locations and ... continuing decline, inferred, observed or projected in area, extent and/or quality of habitat’.

The species has previously been recognised as having a very restricted distribution and abundance within Victoria (Barker 1990).

Fish species and aquatic environments;

Corryong/Nariel Creek - Murray Cod in lower reaches, two spined blackfish, mountain galaxias, smelt and southern pygmy perch.

Below Lake Dartmouth - Macquarie Perch and Murray Cod almost extinct due to cold water being released from Lake Dartmouth.

Mitta Mitta River: Macquarie Perch upstream of Lake Dartmouth. In Victoria that population is the main/principle population in the wild in Victoria. Above Lake Dartmouth a couple of km’s of silt has built up. two spined blackfish, flat headed galaxias, southern pygmy perch, smelt, mountain galaxias, yellowbelly and broadfinned galaxias are found.

Gibbo River: two spined blackfish. Macquarie Perch also found there but they probably don’t spawn in the Gibbo.

Macquarie Perch

(From Native Fish Australia website).

Scientific Name: Macquaria australasica Other

Common Names: Murray bream, silvereye, white-eye, mountain perch, black bream

Size: Commonly to 25 cm, up to 46 cm & 3.5 Kg. Eastern populations to 18 cm.

Conservation Status: Endangered, Listed under the Victorian Flora & Fauna Guarantee Act, totally protected in New South Wales.

Habitat: Slow rivers with deep holes, lakes. Bottom to mid water dwellers, not at all territorial.


Western Population: Originally widespread throughout the upper, cooler waters of the Murray-Darling. Now the only substantial, self-sustaining populations occur in the banked up waters of the man made Lake Dartmouth on the Mitta Mitta River in North Eastern Victoria and a population translocated to the Yarra River near Melbourne in the 1920s. Small remnant (and occasionally breeding) populations occur throughout its original range.

Ex-brood fish from the Snob's Creek Fisheries Research Station (originally captured from Lake Dartmouth) have been liberated in Lake Eildon (also man made) in an attempt to re-establish the species in the lake and the rivers above it. This attempt has been accompanied by a total ban on the taking of Macquarie perch from the lake and its tributaries. Anecdotal evidence on the effectiveness of this ban has been mixed. It is expected that the success of this experiment will be determined in the next few years.


Spawning occurs between October and November in shallow upland streams. Fish in lakes often make an upstream migration to spawn. Prior to this migration, large aggregations of fish often occur in the upper reaches of lakes, making Macquarie perch very vulnerable to unscrupulous anglers (hence seasonal closures to angling for this species in lakes at this time). Migration may not be necessary in stream populations. Spawning occurs amongst stones and gravel in riffle areas. Females produce up to 32,000 eggs per Kg of fish.

Being bred for re-stocking by Snob's Creek. NFA (Victoria) have also bred the species using brood stock from the Yarra River population.


Mainly aquatic insects. Generally bottom feeding, but will utilise the entire water column.

Angling: Totally protected in New South Wales, the taking or possession of Macquarie perch is banned. In Victoria, bag limits and closed seasons apply to various waters, check your local regulations. The taking or possession of Macquarie Perch in or around Lake Eildon or its tributaries is prohibited.

It is anticipated that in June/July 2000, a zero bag-limit for Macquarie Perch will be applied to all waters of Victoria except Lake Dartmouth and its tributaries, the Yarra River and its tributaries and Lake Coliban; a closed season will apply to these waters, probably 1st September to 31 December.

A good hard fighter on light tackle, Macquarie perch are popular angling targets in Lake Dartmouth and the Yarra River around suburban Warrandyte. Many anglers for "Maccas" employ catch and release, which NFA strongly encourages.




December 2001: Dunstan Snowy Creek Road. Coupe number: 12/686/505/0002. Wills Creek 02. This area is due to be logged in 2002. About 80% of this coupe will be woodchipped if it is logged.







By Field Naturalists of Victoria

*The Spot-tailed Quoll is now teetering on the edge of extinction everywhere in the State except perhaps parts of East Gippsland. Since the 1992 Action Plan the Spot-tailed Quoll moved from Threatened to Endangered classification.

*The draft Action Statement management proposals are very unlikely to halt the further decline of the Spot-tailed Quoll, even supposing the concientious application of those proposals.

*The long term objective should be to have viable populations of Spot-tailed Quolls across their pre-1788 range with no artificial barriers to mixing of regional populations. Population targets are desirable.

*There is inadequate detail in the Action Statement to make clear the intentions of the Department, whether the management proposals will actually be implemented, or what the time frames are.

*Funding requirements should be indicated for each trial programme and for the research and monitoring proposed, and also the sources of funding. If it is not funded it won’t happen.

*Forest Block pre-logging surveys for Spot-tailed Qualls are essential.

*Precauntionary measures should include an end to clearfelling in the old wet forests of the Otways and East Gippsland and Central Highlands.

*The proposed Special Protection Zones and Special Management Zones should be expanded to a size that reflects the area of habitat required by quolls and should include site records.

January 2002: Coupe number 12/697/506/0002 in the Dart River catchment. Due to be logged in 2003/4. A Powerful Owl has been recorded in this area. Almost 90% of this coupe will end up as woodchips.

*Culling of old growth forests should cease.

*Regeneration and prescription burning practices should be reviewed with the aim of retaining fallen logs.

*Poison baiting must be stringently administered and alternatives sought, and quoll breeding season avoided for baiting.

*A major effort in public education on quolls needs to be made, especially within the Department of Natural Resources and Environment and within the logging industry as well as for landholders.

*The Action Statement needs a distribution map and a list of authors and contributors. (History will know who signed the death warrant for the Spot-tailed Quoll if it is allowed to go extinct).


1. Despite the continuing decline of the Spot-tailed Quoll the 2001 Draft Action Statement is in some respectes weaker than the 1992 Action Statement.

The 1992 Action Statement objective was to maintain a minimum population of 3000 quolls with the Otways and south-west having at least 300 adults. Now there is no target minimum population, the Department of Natural Resources and Environment’s explantation being that they don’t know what the minimum viable quoll population is. The Department does however have set population targets for other endangered species, such as the Powerful Owl, also top predators.

Another 1992 Action Statement objective was to maintain viable populations of quolls across their remaining range. Since then the remaining range of the quoll has shrunk. Now the long-term objective is to maintain quolls in ‘at least three discrete geographic sub-populations’ with indications these might be in eastern Victoria, Otway Ranges, and south western Victoria. The size of these sub-populations and exactly where within the vaguely described geographic areas they will be is not mentioned.

2. A precautionary approach would require that clearfelling of old wet sclerophyll forest should cease as it appears to be a major factor in quoll decline. These wet forests are strongholds for quolls in the Otways, in East Gippsland as with Goolengook Forest Block, and probably in the Central Highlands as well.

3. Management action being proposed is to increase the size of Special Management Zones around each confirmed quoll record to 1000 hectares in addition to the 500 hectare Special Protection Zones in areas where these arrangements don’t already exist, for example East Gippsland. But there has been no monitoring of the usefulness of these prescriptions in maintaining quoll populations. Declining quoll populations suggest they are no use but there is an additional factor. Special Protection Zones don’t have to cover the site record. Quolls probably favour the more fertile areas where the trees are bigger and the hunting better, but the loggers want the biggest trees so they clearfell the quoll habitat and the Department designs a Special Protection Zone nearby where the quolls don’t want to be. In other words, in practice the prescriptions are a means of eliminating quolls.

It is very doubtful that the Special Protection Zones and Special Management Zones are large enough. Female quolls seem to require at least 700 hectares, and males anything up to 4000 hecatres, while latrine sites indicate that several animals with overlapping ranges may need to intercat within one locality.

4. It is unlikely that the even aged regrowth produced by clearfelling will ever become quoll habitat under the current regime as the trees are likely to be clearfelled again long before they begin to bear hollows. As old growth forests are systematically transformed into even aged plantations so quoll habitat is reduced or eliminated. Some reseacrh may show at what age clearfell regrowth becomes useful to quolls.

5. The Department maintains an extensive culling programme to fell, poison,or otherwise remove big old hollw bearing trees not desired by loggers in wood production areas. Removal of hollow bearing trees is now listed as a threatening process under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act.

6. Forest Block pre-logging surveys for Spot-tailed Quolls are essential if we are going to be serious about quoll conservation. Arbitrary discovery of dens or organic traces are not likely. The surveys should be done by independent experts.

7. Large intact areas of old growth wet forest tend not to have many feral animals in them. It is only when these forests are penetrated by roads and fragmented by cleafelling that the perceived need for poison baiting arises. This has particular relevance in the Otways.

8. Poison baiting contractors get paid to kill the target species, not to protect quolls. Burying baits at shallow depth saves time, effort and money. If two baits in the one hole kill with more certainty why not use two baits? Since there is no monitoring who will know? Pouch born young, due to the very low body weight and early stage of development, may be killed by a dose of 1080 received via the mother’s milk although the dose has no effect on the mother. This should be investigated as a priority issue (Or breeding season avoided for baiting).

9. The intense burns practiced in conjunction with clearfelling tends to eliminate logs on the ground, a key element of quoll habitat, so an effort should be made to remedy this. Fuel reduction buring practices should be modified as necessary to preserve logs on the ground.

10. The native forest logging industry as currently arranged is detrimental to the economy, reduces water quality and yield, and limits tourism opportunities in some areas, thus it would be difficult for the Department to invoke s. 17 (3) of the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act to justify less than adequate conservation measures. Guarantees of wood supply to the logging industry made under the Regional Forest Agreement process are bound to be problematic if further reserves are needed for quoll habitat.

11. A recent inquiry to the Information Centre of the DNRE requesting information about an image of Spot-tailed Quolls was met with the response, “What’s a Spot-tailed Quoll?”, followed by “We don’t have any!”. An education programme should begin in the Department and extend to the logging industry and timber workers as well as landowners.

12. The Action Statement needs a distribution map and a list of authors and contrinbutors.

January 2002. Either 12/668/001/0009 (Barkmans 02) or 12/666/001/0005 (Barkmans) near the corner of Cravensville Road and Avondale Road. This area is located in the headwaters of tributaries of Findlay Creek/Tallangatta Creek about 11km south of Koetong and consists of mixed species including old growth. About 90% of the logs coming from this site will end up as woodchips when logged in 2002.



Lake Hume Water Supply catchment:

VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT GAZETTE No 91 - 29 August 1984. p2970

Soil Conservation and Land Utilization Act


(Proclaimed 31 July 1984 Victorian Government Gazette No. 85, Dated 8 August 1984)

Notice is hereby given that the Soil Conservation Authority in pursuance of its powers under section 22 (2) of the Soil Conservation and Land Utilization Act 1958, as amended, has specified the changes in land use which may not be made without the prior approval of the Authority in specified parts of the Lake Hume Water Supply Catchment as defined on Plan No. S-1275B (I) Fig. 1, the original of which is filed at the Head Office of the Soil Conservation Authority, at 378 Cotham Road, Kew.

The changes in land use which may not be made without the prior approval of the Soil Conservation Authority are:

The clearing or destruction of live trees on land which the Authority classes as steep (slope generally greater than 18 o) or otherwise erodible for the purposes of pasture establishment, pine plantation establishment, or any other purposes byt excluding forest operations carried out under management prescriptions approved by the Authority.

Background - Lake Hume

For information relating to the Hume and Dartmouth dams, please go to the website of the Murray Darling Basin Committee.


The following information was sourced largely from the MDBC’s website and pamphlet;The River Murray from Mountains to Sea. The Upper Murray Hume Catchment and Snowy Mountains Scheme. Murray Darling Basin Committee

September 2001: Recreational fishing in lake hume. In dry years logging in the headwaters of the Murray system will significantly impact on downstream water yield. According to the ‘Fisheries Economic Impact Studies. Economic Impact of Recreational Fishing in Victoria July 1997 by Fisheries Victoria’ the economic worth of recreational fishing in Victoria’s North East was worth $171 million per year.

Hume Dam is located on the River Murray, 16 km upstream of Albury - Wodonga and was built largely as a result of the River Murray Waters Agreement ratified by the Commonwealth, New South Wales, Victorian and South Australian Governments in 1915. Work on the dam started in 1919 and finished in 1936. Enlargement works, largely due to the Snowy Mountains Scheme, were completed in 1961 increasing the capacity of Lake Hume to its current level of 3038 gigalitres*. A 50 megawatt hydro-electric station was built at the dam in 1957.

(*A gigalitre is equal to 1000 megalitres. 1 megalitre is equal to approximately 1 Olympic swimming pool).

According to the Murray Darling Basin Committee, “The primary purpose of Hume Dam is to conserve water in periods of high flow for later release during periods of low flow. The principal use of the water is for irrigation but significant quantities of water are diverted from the River Murray for domestic uses, industrial uses and to help supply entitlement flows to South Australia.

While the primary purpose of the Hume Dam is for water conservation a number of secondary benefits exist.

These include:

*flood mitigation through capture of floods when the storage is filling and the mitigation of floods while storage has airspace. At present there is no legal requirement for the MDBC to operate the storage to provide flood mitigation at all times:

*hydro electricity; and

*recreational pursuits in Hume Reservoir (eg. swimming, sailing, water skiing, fishing)”.

According to the Murray Darling Basin Committee;

“Catchment Hume Dam is 305 km downstream of the source of the River Murray, and 2225 km upstream of the river mouth. The catchment area of the Hume Reservoir is 15280 square kilometres, only 1.5% of the Murray-Darling Basin. Despite the relatively small catchment area, about 37% of the total inflow to the River Murray occurs upstream of Hume Reservoir.

The catchment of Hume Reservoir typically receives between 660 and 2040 mm of precipitation per year, falling mainly during the winter months. Rain is the most common form of precipitation over the catchment although snow is also important above 1400 metres. Only 7% (100,000 hectares) of the catchment of Hume Reservoir is above 1400 metres but it is a valuable water yielding area. It yields 18% of the water to Hume Reservoir (not all of this occurs as snow), which is 6.6% of the total inflow to the Murray.

September 2001: Lake Hume.

The Hume Catchment is the area of land which contributes water via streams to the Hume Reservoir east of Albury. It is the most important single area contributing water to the River Murray and includes land in both New South Wales and Victoria.

During drought years, the reliable water source of the Hume Catchment assumes an even greater importance when it yields around 42% of the total inflow to the Murray.

Snow is more valuable than rain because it acts as its own storage by withholding large quantities of water from streams until warmer weather, when it helps to maintain flows as it melts.

The Catchment consists of 53% forest and Crown land, 36% freehold land and 11% which is occupied by the Kosciusko (2228 metres) is the highest elevation in the Catchment. . . “

The Mitta Mitta River in Victoria contributes about one third of the Lake Hume catchment’s water, and the upper Murray River contributes the other two thirds. Dartmouth Reservoir is located further upstream on the Mitta Mitta River and captures the majority of the flows in the Mitta Mitta.

Snowy Mountain Scheme Tranfers into Lake Hume account for 580 Gigalitres per year while the minimum notification release (ie minimum release that should be provided each year) is 1062GL as there has already been part of the Hume catchment incorporated into the Snowy Scheme (the area upstream of Tooma and Geehi reservoirs). “This is around 5% of the average inflow to the Murray River. The importance of the transfer of water from a reliable source is highlighted during dry periods, when the contribution of water from the Snowy Mountains Scheme is increased to an average of 920 gigalitres, which is 33% of the total inflow to the River Murray under those conditions”.

The River Murray from Mountains to Sea. The Upper Murray Hume Catchment and Snowy Mountains Scheme. Murray Darling Basin Committee “The River Murray System has some drought insurance from the Snowy Mountains Scheme. The Snowy Mountains Scheme is designed to be able to meet minimum monthly irrigation and electricity demands over a period equal to the worst drought on record.” The River Murray from Mountains to Sea. The Upper Murray Hume Catchment and Snowy Mountains Scheme. Murray Darling Basin Committee

Irrigation Diversions

Small irrigation diversions commence from the River Murray in June and July, increasing progressively from August to November. There is generally a surplus of water in the system at this time; as much as possible is taken into storage. From December to May, flows in the tributaries recede; the rising demand for water is met by releases from the storage. By reducing winter and early spring flows and increasing summer flows, Hume and Dartmouth storages have changed the flow pattern which would have occurred in the unregulated Murray.

The operating characteristics of Hume Reservoir follow an annual cycle of filling and draw-down. Usually, in two years out of three, the storage fills and by the end of autumn it is ‘drawn down’ to less than half capacity. The River Murray from Mountains to Sea. The Upper Murray Hume Catchment and Snowy Mountains Scheme. Murray Darling Basin Committee

Background - Dartmouth Dam

January 2002: Lake Dartmouth and the inundated Mitta Mitta River.

Sourced from the Murray Darling Basin Commission website

“Dartmouth Reservoir is the most upstream storage in the River Murray System. It impounds the waters of the Mitta Mitta River about 24 km from the township of Mitta Mitta in north-eastern Victoria. It is the largest capacity dam in Victoria and has the highest embankment of any dam in Australia. When full, the dam stores 3 906 GL of high quality water from the surrounding alpine areas of Victoria. When required, it supplements releases from Hume Dam and increases supplies to the River Murray system which is particularly important in dry seasons. High quality water released from the Dam helps to reduce salinity in the downstream reaches.


Dartmouth Reservoir is the Commission’s largest storage and when full represents 44% of the system’s total storage capacity. Its primary function is to increase security of supply. It also provides increased annual supplies of water to New South Wales and Victoria and has increased the minimum annual entitlement to South Australia from 1 550 to 1 850 GL.

The primary use of water stored in Dartmouth Reservoir is to replenish storage in Hume Reservoir to assist in meeting downstream water supply requirements. Transferring water from Dartmouth Reservoir provides water in Hume Reservoir for downstream water requirements and maintains the water level in Hume at the height needed to operate the irrigation valves and power station.

The Catchment

The catchment area of the Dartmouth Reservoir is 3 611 square kilometres, less than a quarter of the catchment of Hume Reservoir and only about 0.34% of the Murray-Darling Basin. Nevertheless, about 12% of the total inflow to the River Murray is generated upstream of Dartmouth Reservoir. The entire catchment of Dartmouth Dam is within the State of Victoria.

Rain is the most common form of precipitation over the Dartmouth catchment, although snow is also important over 1 400 m. Areas of the catchment over 1,400 m include the eastern slopes of Mt. Hotham and Mt. Bogong. The catchment produces very high quality mountain water.

Filling Phase

During the filling phase, minimum releases are maintained to provide for riparian needs downstream. The minimum release is 200 megalitres per day (ML/d) at Colemans gauging station, immediately downstream of a regulating pondage below the main storage. The minimum may be increased as needed to meet community, water quality or environmental objectives according to the following:

Storage volume, 60 - 70 %Minimum Release Rate, 300 ML/d

Storage volume, 70 - 80 %Minimum Release Rate, 400 ML/d

Storage volume, above 80 % Minimum Release Rate, 500 ML/d

Release Phase

Releases from Dartmouth are made to supplement storage in Lake Hume. Transfers may take place many months in advance due to the limited channel capacity of the Mitta Mitta River. Under normal operating circumstances releases for water supply are made at rates which go up to channel capacity of about 10,000 ML/d. They usually commence in spring or early summer as required, and may continue as late as April or May depending on seasonal conditions. Release rates are determined by the needs of the whole Murray system and in particular the storage level in Lake Hume.

'Harmony' Transfer to Hume

These transfers are normally made in the summer and autumn of years when Dartmouth storage level is high. They provide flood mitigation benefits in the Mitta Mitta valley, assist in maintaining groundwater levels (which is of benefit in the free draining valley soils which occur in that region), improve water quality, increase power generation due to reduced spill volumes, and enhance the recreational use of Lake Hume. They are usually made at rates well below river channel capacity.

January 2002: Dartmouth Dam and spillway.

The harmony rules maintain a ratio between the airspace available in Hume and Dartmouth which varies according to a number of operational principles. The primary aim is to maximise the volume of water stored in the two storages. To achieve this the filling pattern of each storage has to be taken into account. Dartmouth takes four average inflow years to fill from empty, but Hume takes less than one average year. In addition water released from Dartmouth can be captured by Hume but not vice versa. Hume (but not Dartmouth) also receives substantial inflows from the Snowy Mountains Scheme. Taken as a package, the harmony rules maximise the volume of water held in the two storages and provide airspace under a wide range of conditions which can be used to mitigate floods along the rivers downstream of the two dams.

Pre-release Phase

When the storage approaches full, depending on the time of year, pre-releases may be made to maintain a measure of airspace to help mitigate floods. They are calculated on the basis that after making allowance for the water that is "pre-released" the Dam should still fill by the end of spring, even if the driest climate conditions of the last 100 years were to recur. The aim is to combine high security of supply with the retention of some additional airspace to mitigate floods.

Pre-releases from Dartmouth are considered in conjunction with the operation of Hume in its spilling or flood phase. They should not unnecessarily reduce Hume's share of the total available airspace, or aggravate flooding if it is already occurring downstream of Hume. The method of calculating what is appropriate is based on sharing any available channel capacity downstream of Hume for releases from the two storages so that they are likely to become full at about the same time in late spring.

Spilling (Flood) Phase

When the storage exceeds full supply level, flow over the spillway commences. The spillway of Dartmouth Dam is free overflow (ie without gates). However the dam wall adjoining the spillway is higher than the spillway and this, combined with the restricted flow passing over the spillway and the large surface area of the storage, results by design in a considerable body of water being temporarily retained above full supply level and released at a lower rate than would otherwise be the case. In addition, under existing management rules, discharges through the power station and irrigation outlets are generally shut off to provide extra flood mitigation while there is flow over the spillway. The result of all these factors is that there is considerable mitigation of flood peaks downstream. However, depending on the nature of the flood, the duration of flows above channel capacity is sometimes longer than would have occurred before the dam was built.

As spill from the main dam commences, water releases through the power station and the irrigation valves are generally turned off to reduce flow. At the same time the release from the regulating dam is reduced to maintain the flow at Tallandoon below channel capacity as long as possible.

As the spillway flow increases and the level of the regulating pondage rises, the pondage gates are operated in a manner which will produce a smooth transition to a situation where the water is spilling over the pondage spillway. The gates are kept closed during the majority of the flood to minimise damage from debris as the flow passes over the pondage spillway.

When the flood peak has passed and the spill over the regulating pondage is receding, the gates are operated in a manner which will produce a smooth transition from spill to regulated flow.

Inflows to the storage, and downstream tributary flows, are continually monitored and forecast during a flood. The forecasts can be used to forecast the flow in the Mitta Mitta at Tallandoon which assists operation at Hume if, as is usual, there is a concurrent flood operation at Hume.

Power Station

Releases from the high level outlet are usually made through the power station located at the base of the Dam, unless the power station is out of service. As already described, the power station is generally not used while the storage is spilling. If the storage is below about 30% full, the low level outlet must be used and the water is not available to the power station.

Apart from releases through the power station to meet downstream requirements, additional "entitlement" releases may be made. The operator Southern Hydro has an annual entitlement which it may release as it requires at times when Murray-Darling Basin Commission releases would not otherwise be made. Normal rates of rise and fall apply and constraints may be imposed by the Murray-Darling Basin Commission because of conditions downstream. Power station operation is covered in greater detail in Backgrounder No 5. Southern Hydro also operates a downstream regulating pondage to smooth any rapid changes in releases from the power station.

Rates of Rise and Fall in the Mitta Mitta River

January 2002: Mitta Mitta River downstream from Dartmouth Dam.

Variations in release rates are frequently required during the operation of the Lake and the power station. Limits to rates of rise and fall of the river below the regulation dam have been adopted to allow people downstream to have adequate warning of changes in river heights and to reduce negative environmental impacts such as bank slumping.


In 1988 the River Murray Commission was replaced by the Murray-Darling Basin Commission, which has a wider role in land, water and environmental management in addition to its traditional water management role. The River Murray Waters Agreement was replaced by the Murray-Darling Basin Agreement. However, control of Murray flows continues to be a major responsibility of the Commission. It presently controls four major storages, sixteen weirs, five barrages and numerous small regulators in the Barmah /Millewa forest. The Murray-Darling Basin Agreement requires a "reserve" of water to be held in storage at the end of each season to safeguard against future droughts.


December 2001: Gippsland FMA: Stony Creek/Buenba Creek. Coupe: 13/711/505/0003? About 90% of this coupe will end up as woodchips.










Water Quality/Quantity

The effects of logging on water yield have been well documented in the past. It has also been conclusively proven that logging can seriously effect water quality through increases of sediment loads.

In regards to water yield probably the most ‘famous’ report was written by Read and Sturgess in the early nineties about the impacts of logging in the Thomson River catchment. The Thomson is surrounded by mostly 1939 regrowth ash forests. According to an ACF report written in 1992 called ‘The Impact of Logging on Water Production in the Thomson Catchment’; “Long term research by Melbourne Water has shown that logging eucalypt forest can reduce streamflow by as much as 50% . . . The Read Sturgess report tested the effects of a range of forestry management options on streamflow, including the likely effects from both very long and very short rotations. The report found that two options -

(i) “big strip” thinning over a limited area, combined with a 200 year rotation in the rest of the catchment; and

(ii) ceasing logging altogether;

would provide a positive economic benefit with a Net Present Value in order of $150 million, relative to the status quo. In terms of total net cashflow over the next 200 years, the ‘no logging option’ is the clear winner, providing a $3.8 billion benefit relative to the status quo; nearly twice as much as the benefit from the “big strip” option ($2.1b).

A total cessation of logging in the Thomson will, over time, increase Melbourne’s total water supply by 60 gigalitres a year, representing 15% of Melbourne’s current annual consumption. The flip-side of this is that the timber and woodchip interests now in the Thomson are literally consuming 15% of Melbourne’s water supply, free of charge. This 60 gigalitres/yr - worth over $30 million per year - will be paid for by Melbourne’s water consumers in the future.

The report has wider implications for logging in forested water catchments right throughout Australia...”

January 2002: View from Dunstans Log Road, looking north west of recent logging coupe.

It must be remembered when discussing water yield issues that immediately after logging there is actually an increase in water yields, as there is little vegetation remaining to ‘suck’ water from the ground - however there would be an issue with poorer quality water during this time due to increased sediment loads. This increase in yield remains for several years, until young trees take root. From then the new forests start to become water sponges and remain that way for many years.

This effect has been studied in many catchments. In the report ‘The effects of logging and forest regeneration on water yields in a moist eucalypt forest in New South Wales, Australia’ by P.M.Cornish - published in the Journal of Hydrology, 150 (1993) 301-322.


Water yields increased after logging by 150-200mm per year in small catchments of moist old growth eucalypt at Karuah in central New South Wales. The magnitude of this initial increase was directly related to the percentage of the catchment logged (29-79%). Where substantial vegetation removal took place in less than 20% of one catchment no increased water yield was observed. Water yields began to decline in all catchments 2-3 years after logging as regrowth euculypts became established, and the rate of this decline was related to the mean stocking rate of eucalypt regeneration during the next 4 years. This water yield decline exceeded 250mm in the sixth year after logging in the catchment with the highest stocking of regeneration and the highest regrowth basal area. Water yields in this catchment had declined to levels significantly below pre-logging levels by this time, supporting the notion that regrowth evapotranspiration had begun to exceed that of old growth forest. Patterns of declining water yield in other catchments suggest that yields in some may also decline below pre-logging levels as regrowth evapotranspiration increases in line with increases in the basal area of the regrowth forest . . . these early results are consistent with water yield changes observed in mountain ash forest in Victoria, and support the concept of greater water use by a rapidly regenerating forest.”

Cornish adds; “Many studies have examined the effects of vegetation changes in water yield world-wide (Bosch and Hewlett, 1982). When forest cover is removed there is an initial increase in water yield that is related to the proportion of cover affected. This increase then declines, if the forest is allowed to regenerate and grow, in a manner dictated by progressive increases in transpiration rate and rainfall interception rate of the regenerating forest . . . The underlying processes that govern evapotranspiration rates in forests suggest that, after the increase that accompanies canopy reduction, water yields should decline while the regrowth stand develops . . . Reports of depressed water yields after regrowth of the same forest species appear to be restricted to eucalypt forests after wildfire (Langford, 1976; Kuczera, 1985) or logging (O’Shaughnessy and Jayasuriya, 1987; O’Shaughnessy et al., 1989) . . . "

In determining impacts of logging on water yield the following information from an earlier study into the impacts of logging ash species is useful. Managing the Ash Type Forests for Water Production in Victoria - PJ O’Shaughnessy1 and MDA Jayasuriya2

p437 “Ash type forests in Victoria comprise 10% of the total forest estate. On a unit area basis average annual streamflows are about four times higher than those from mixed species forest which comprises about 80% of the forest estate. Research conducted by the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works (MMBW) has shown that the streamflow yield from ash type forest is correlated with stand age. Mature forests yield double the streamflow of regrowth forests. Theoretical case studies for three catchments carrying ash type forests show, on the basis of revenue received in royalty for timber and payments for bulk water, that the benefits of long rotation length can be greater than the costs incurred by loss of wood production.

P438 “The term ash type forests describes a forest type comprising four eucalypt species having similar environmental requirements in terms of soils, climate and silviculture and with similar growth rates. They grown on deep fertile soils and have a rainfall requirement of over 1200mm per annum. They area readily killed by hot wildfires and regenerate in dense even-aged stands following heavy seed shed from the fire-killed trees. The major species in Victoria which exhibit these attributes and requirements are; Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus regnans), Alpine Ash (E. delegatensis), Shining Gum (E. nitens) and Cut Tail (E. fastigata).”

p440 “North flowing streams from the ash type forests of the North Eastern Highlands are extensively regulated for irrigation, hydro electricity and domestic water supply purposes, with major storages being the Hume and Dartmouth reservoirs . . .”

“The importance of the ash type forests can be illustrated by a simple exercise. If it is assumed that the total ash type area in Victoria yields an average of 8ML/ha of water per annum, and that the mixed species area yields some 2ML/ha the result is that although the ash type area is only 13% of the mixed species area, its water yield is 50% of the mixed species water yield. . .”

p447 Water Yield

“... an area of ash type forest, streamflow can vary from 6ML/ha to over 12ML/ha depending on the age of the stand. The effects of rotation age can be shown in a similar fashion. The assumption is that an area managed on a stable rotation has even productivity and would be divided for management purposes into equal areas equivalent in number to the rotation length.

For example, a forest managed on a rotation age of 80 years would comprise 80 equal stand areas ranging in age from 1 to 80 years. By using the age water yield relationship to calculate the yield from each individual stand area the total yield from a forest managed on a rotation of 80 years can be calculated, namely 7.65 ML/ha/per annum. A similar exercise has been undertaken for a range of rotation ages and a rotation age/water yield curve developed, applicable on a regional basis to ash type forests of the Central Highlands.

Compared with a yield of about 12 ML/ha from an old growth forest water yields are at their lowest from stands having a rotation of 50 years. Long rotations of 150 years increase yields by 2ML/ha over the yields from a 70 year rotation.

However even with a 150 year rotation yields are still depressed by over 2.5 ML/ha compared to those which could be expected from an old growth forest.



Forest Age, Rotation Age

Yield with Time for an Even Aged Forest


Yield from Varying Rotation Lengths (*)


01 11.95 11.95
10 8.12 10.43
20 6.13 8.74
30 5.83 7.79
40 6.33 7.35
50 7.15 7.21
60 (1939 regrowth) 8.03 7.27
70 8.85 7.43
80 9.54 7.65
90 10.11 7.89
100 10.67 8.13
110 10.92 8.37
120 11.19 8.59
130 11.39 8.80
140 11.54 8.89
150 11.66 9.16
160 11.74 9.32
170 11.80 9.42
180 11.84 9.60
190 11.87 9.72
200 11.90 9.82


(Derived from Kuczera 1985) (*) These yields are derived from the age/yield relationship, assuming that a forest stand managed on a stable rotation length is comprised of the same number of equal areas as the rotation length, varying in number from one to the nominated rotation length.

January 2002: Logging coupe near Mount Cudgewa: Coupe No: 12/673/001/0012. This coupe includes old growth as seen in photograph and will be logged in 2003/4. About 85% of this forest will be converted into woodchips.

“The importance of the ash type forests can be illustrated by a simple exercise. If it is assumed that the total ash type area in Victoria yields an average of 8ML/ha of water per annum, and that the mixed species area yields some 2ML/ha the result is that although the ash type area is only13% of the mixed species area, its water yield is 50% of the mixed species water yield. . .”

Given the following statement an ‘guestimate’ of the potential loss of water yield from forestry operations in the Lake Hume Water catchment can be made. It must be pointed out that these figures are extremely simplistic, yet nevertheless provide some sort of direction about the long term impacts of logging in the Lake Hume Water Catchment. It should also be pointed out that there may well be increases in yield from recently logged area - these increases have not been factored into these basic equations - these calculations are based on the long term decline of water yield asociated with current logging regimes. It must also be stated that sediment issues arising from the recent logging are likely to impact on the upper reaches of both Lake Dartmouth and Lake Hume. Friends of the Earth has been informed that the Mitta Mitta River just above Lake Dartmouth is increasingly becoming silted, due both in part to natural erosion, agricultural practices and logging in the catchments headwaters.

The price of water from the Murray System can also fluctuate widely. The differences in price between Victoria and New South Wales are often different. For instance in NSW to buy water from the Murray for irrigation would mean a permanent transfer of water. All of the water from the Murray System is already allocated meaning that to purchase water you would have to find someone with an entitlement and buy from them. The water from Lake Hume is also divided into a myriad of uses including town supply, water for stock, domestic etc etc. Prices quoted to Friends of the Earth from NSW authorities for a Mega Litre (ML) of water were between $380 and $450 a ML (at a low security rate). A High Security Rate would approximately double the cost of water to about $800 - $900 ML. High Security Rates apply to irrigators who for instance have permanent plantings in orchards. They pay a higher price but are assurred of water in dry years.

After talking with Goulburn Murray Water in Tatura the going rate of water from the Murray system is only $5.06ML! On top of this cost however is added storage costs, distribution ect bringing the price up to something like $20-$25 ML. Hence the vast differences in the water prices quoted below.


* (as all the coupes listed in the 2001/4 WUP’s were not logged the following list must be treated cautiously)

2001/2 Corryong 296 ha (2368 ML) 99ha (198 ML)
2001/2 Tallangatta 160 ha (1280 ML) 127 ha (254 ML)
2001/2 NE Gippsland 134 ha (1072 ML) 38 ha (76 ML)
TOTAL   590 ha (4720 ML) 264 ha (528 ML)


LAKE HUME @ $900 ML $4,248,000 $475,200 = $4,723,200
LAKE HUME @ $450ML $2,124,000 $237,600 = $2,361,600
LAKE HUME @ $380 ML $1,793,600 $200,640 = $1,994,240
LAKE HUME @ $25 ML $ 118,000 $ 13,200 = $ 131,200


2001/2 Cont. Corryong 186 ha (1488 ML) 50 ha (100 ML)
2001/2 Cont. Tallangatta 151 ha (1208 ML) 73 ha (146 ML)
2001/2 Cont. NE Gipps. 12 ha (96 ML) 113 ha (226 ML)
TOTAL 349 ha (2792 ML) 236 ha (472 ML)


LAKE HUME @ $900 ML $2,512,800 $424,800 = $2,937,600
LAKE HUME @ $450 ML $1,256,400 $212,400 = $1,468,800
LAKE HUME @ $380 ML $1,060,960 $179,360 = $1,240,320


$ 69,800 $ 11,800 = $ 81,600


2002/3 Corryong 237 ha (1896 ML) 148 ha (296 ML)
2002/3 Tallangatta 84 ha (672 ML) 72 ha (144 ML)
2002/3 NE Gippsland 92 ha (736 ML) 51ha (102 ML)
TOTAL 413 ha (3304 ML) 271 ha (542 ML)


LAKE HUME @ $900 ML $2,973,600 $487,800 = $3,461,400
LAKE HUME @ $450 ML $1,486,800 $243,900 = $1,730,700
LAKE HUME @ $380 ML $1,255,520 $205,960 = $1,461,480
LAKE HUME @ $25 ML $ 82,600 $ 13,550 = $ 96,150

January 2002. Either 12/668/001/0009 (Barkmans 02) or 12/666/001/0005 (Barkmans) near the corner of Cravensville Road and Avondale Road. This area is located in the headwaters of tributaries of Findlay Creek/Tallangatta Creek about 11km south of Koetong and consists of mixed species including old growth. About 90% of the logs coming from this site will end up as woodchips when logged in 2002.










2003/4 Corryong 268 ha (2144 ML) 294 ha (588 ML)
2003/4 Tallangatta 109 ha (872 ML) 71 ha (142 ML)
2003/4 NE Gippsland ----- 105 ha (210 ML)
TOTAL 377 ha (3016 ML) 470 ha (940 ML)


LAKE HUME @ $900 ML $2,714,400 $846,000 = $3,560,400
LAKE HUME @ $450 ML $1,357,200 $423,000 = $1,780,200
LAKE HUME @ $380 ML $1,146,080 $357,200 = $1,503,280
LAKE HUME @ $25 ML $ 75,400 $ 23,500 = $ 98,900


TOTAL OVER 3 YEARS 13, 832 ML 2, 482 ML = 16,314ML
LAKE HUME @ $900 ML $12,448,800 $2,233,800 = $14,682,600
LAKE HUME @ $450 ML $ 6,224,400 $1,116,900 = $ 7,341,300
LAKE HUME @ $380 ML $ 5,256,160 $ 943,160 = $ 6,199,320
LAKE HUME @ $25 ML $ 345,800 $ 62,050 = $ 407,850

Average value of water revenue lost per year @ $900 /ML = $4,894,200 or 5438 ML.

Average value of water revenue lost per year @ $450 /ML = $2,447,100 or 5438 ML.

Average value of water revenue lost per year @ $380 /ML = $2,066,440 or 5438 ML.

Average value of water revenue lost per year @ $ 25 /ML = $ 135,950 or 5438 ML.

January 2002: Recent log coupe. Gibb Range Road.






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