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June 2015 edition
of   Hut News
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Our mission is to help conserve the natural environment of the Greater Blue Mountains and to increase awareness of the natural environment in general.

Lyrebird Male Lyrebird (Carol Probets)
In this month's Hut News -

BMCC LEP 2013 logo
Draft Blue Mountains Local Environmental Plan 2013

critical environmental protection provisions at risk

You may have seen the report in the Blue Mountains Gazette of 27th May 2015 about the apparent backflip by the NSW Planning Department on the Draft Local Environmental Plan.

It seems that the Department now does not support the inclusion of critical environmental protection provisions in the new LEP for the Blue Mountains. Read more about this here.

The Society’s position has consistently been that if DLEP 2013 is substantially changed after public exhibition and approval by Council then it should be re-exhibited and a public hearing held.

The Society is seeking an urgent meeting with Planning minister Rob Stokes.

We will shortly advise on steps you can take to voice your objection to the Department’s backflip.

download the petition here


Gardens of Stone: In Focus
Photographic Competition
3rd June - 28th July

The Gardens of Stone Alliance* has commissioned a special photographic competition to bring attention to an unprotected region on the western side of the Blue Mountains with superlative natural beauty.

The Gardens of Stone - In Focus is a photographic competition that offers photographers opportunities to visit spectacular places and later this year celebrate the pivotal role of photography has played in the protection of nature by being part of a spectacular exhibition.

here's full details of the competition

* Colong Foundation for Wilderness, Lithgow Environment Group and Blue Mountains Conservation Society

Ben Bullen State Forest Ben Bullen State Forest (Ian Brown)

Getting involved
Blue Dampiera - Dampiera stricta Native Plant Nursery
Operating at Lawson and Blackheath, our nursery grows native plants for residents and organisations.  Find out how you can buy plants or help out at the nursery.
more .....
Baal Bone walk - Andy Gardiner BMCS Bushwalking
Walking is a great way to meet people, keep fit and enjoy nature. Come and explore the beautiful Blue Mountains with friendly people.     Like us on Facebook
more .....
Valley of the Waters Bushcare Group Bushcare Group
The Bushcare Group meets once a month to remove weeds and plant native species at the Valley of the Waters site.  New members are always welcome.
more .....
the vulnerable Euphrasia bowdeniae Conservation Work
Help us preserve the natural environment of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage region.
more .....
The Plant Study Group The Plant Study Group
The Plant Study Group meets once a month and travels to different locations in the mountains, enabling it to see a diversity of species and plant communities.
more .....

Bush Trackers website
The Society sponsors Bush Trackers.

Here's a 4 minute video about Bush Trackers.

Visit the Bush Trackers website to download Bush Tracker Guides.

Conservation Campaigns

Qantas A380   Qantas A380   (Andrzej Kostrzewa)
Western Sydney Airport
A major threat to the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area

The Society opposes the proposed Western Sydney Airport as it impacts the environment of the Greater Blue Mountains and threatens its world heritage listing.

Here's the Society's submission.   You can read more here and here's a flyer.

Dead Swamp - no recovery
Dead Swamp - No Recovery  (A. Allchin)
Springvale Mine Extension Project
submissions closed on Friday 22nd May

Centennial Coal has resolved to push ahead with a massive proposed expansion of the Springvale longwall mine project that the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) says would directly discharge up to 43.8 ML/day of high salinity mine water into the Coxs River.

Note:
    ◊ Coxs River flows into Warragamba Dam.
    ◊ An Olympic-size swimming pool contains 2.5 ML.

Springvale Colliery is in the Western Coalfields near Lithgow. Last year, the majority of coal produced was transported by train to Port Kembla for export.

The proposed expansion of Springvale Colliery will damage core values of the Gardens of Stone region, if approved. There is a chance to stop the damage, and making a submission to the Planning Assessment Commission will help.

Here's the Society's Submission and a joint Media Release.

The image above shows Sierra Classen inspecting a dead swamp in the 'headwaters' of the Wolgan River - nine years after being ruined by longwall mining. There is still no sign of recovery.


Review of the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Rule
Submissions closed Friday 14th November

The Society supports the Rural Fire Service's Review of the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code of Practice for NSW, and encourages the rescinding of this policy.

People do have a right to protect their homes - but this sledge-hammer approach has appalling consequences.

The Society considers that there are major problems associated with the implementation and operation of the present Code that need to be addressed.   Here's the Society's submission.

To find out more about the 10/50 rule and the status of the review go to the Rural Fire Service's website.


The Wollangambe River   The Wollangambe River   (Ian Brown)
Review of Clarence Colliery's
Environment Protection Licence   (EPL726)
Govt. Report confirms pollution

A report released on 1st June by the Office of Environment and Heritage confirmed that high volume discharges from Clarence Colliery near Lithgow are toxic to aquatic life and have impacted the Wollangambe River deep into the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.

After many years of pollution, the EPA intends to vary the mine's licence to place limits on nickel, salinity, and temperature of the discharge to this otherwise pristine river.

See more on the Colong website.

Here's the Society's submission   and   background details.

Wolgan Falls
Wolgan Falls
Coalpac's Invincible Colliery Mod 4
and Cullen Valley Mine Mod 2
have been refused

On 17th October, 2014, the NSW Planning Assessment Committee refused Coalpac's proposed expansion of the Invincible Colliery and Cullen Valley Mine.

Here's the PAC's determination report.

Here's an extract from the Commission's determination.

"The Commission has determined to refuse the modification applications for the following reasons:
  1. The proposal poses unacceptable risks to the pagoda structures and escarpments in the vicinity of the open cut pits and above the proposed highwall mining areas.
  2. The proposal would have significant impacts on the pagoda landform complex.
  3. The site has significant conservation value and is not suitable for the proposed mining, the highest and best use of the area is for conservation.
  4. The justification and need for the proposed extensions do not outweigh the environmental costs and impacts of the extension."

The Blue Mountains Conservation Society would like to thank its many hundreds of members and supporters, and associated organisations, for their tireless efforts over the past several years in this and previous campaigns to protect the Gardens of Stone.

We now need to campaign strongly for the reservation for conservation of Ben Bullen State Forest and the rest of the Gardens of Stone stage 2

Protect The Gardens of Stone Banner Drop - May 2011   (Rob Baigent)

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