To: Forestry Corporation NSW, Andrew Constance MP and Gladys Berejiklian
Protect the Masked Owl and the baby Sea Eagles of Corunna Forest
Please saved the Masked Owl and the Baby Sea Eagles at Corunna State Forest, and protect the foreshore lakes.
Protect the Masked Owl
A rare and protected Masked Owl was photographed inside Corunna Forest in October, 2018. Forestry must immediately stop work while the nest is located and apply Clause 5.13 of the Threatened Species License - which requires a 300 HA exclusion around Corunna Forest.
Leave the Baby Sea Eagles alone
Forestry will soon log within 50m of the Sea Eagle nests. These Sea Eagles must not be disturbed.
Leave Corunna Lake alone
Follow Marine Park Authority's advice and protect Corunna Lake for public health and safety, and for the safety of the species living in the Lake.
Leave Tilba Tilba Lake alone
Run off from this logging operation must not be allowed to reach Tilba Tilba Lake.
Protect the Giants of Macquarie Street
The Giants of Macquarie Street must not be logged. They are majestic trees over 100 years old and are slowly developing vital tree hollows for animal habitat.
Why is this important?
Residents recently photographed a rare Masked Owl living at Corunna Forest. According to the NSW State Government, Masked Owls can only fly 500 to a maximum of 1,000 HA from their nest. There is therefore no doubt that the Masked Owl nest is inside Corunna Forest.
The Threatened Species License (CL 6.4) requires 300 HA of forest to be preserved when a Masked Owl nest is present. This requires Forestry Corporation NSW to immediately cease logging at Corunna Forest.
Forestry say they are using a "Landscape" approach, which requires 300 HA of forest to be set aside somewhere within 150km of the forest. They have not been able to identify on any map where this 300HA is.
Wherever it is, it is clearly not within reach of this Masked Owl.
Forestry Corp say they can apply this method because they were only provided with a photograph of the owl drinking from a pond, not a photograph of the Masked Owl's nest.
Whether a nest was photographed or not, the limited range of the owl shows there is no question that the nest is inside Corunna Forest, and that the 300 HA of exclusion around this endangered owl must immediately be invoked. As the Masked Owl's range does not extend beyond Corunna Forest, clause 5.13 of the Threatened Species License clearly must be applied immediately.
Instead of slowing down to look for the nest, Forestry Corporation ignored the Masked Owl, and locked the Forest so residents couldn't find the nest. Press statements were issued that 70 hours of forest surveys were conducted in the lead up to logging, so therefore no further searches are required. Forestry say the contractors have been instructed to look at each tree before the harvester cuts it down to see if an owl is there.
The Landscape model could perhaps be an adequate response to a Powerful Owl, or a Sooty Owl. These owls have a much greater range. They are more adaptable too, and likely to adapt to a new nest if need be. Masked Owls on the other hand, do not. If their nest is disturbed they tend to die out. That's not a risk New South Wales can afford to take, when many rare species, including the Masked Owl, are in rapid decline.
The people of NSW are calling on the NSW State Government to act responsibly and protect the Masked Owl, and show residents the location - on a map - of the owl protection exclusion zone, and how the Masked Owl is supposed to reach this new home. If this can't be proven, then Threatened Species License Clause 15.3 must immediately be invoked.
Baby Sea Eagles
The Sea Eagle babies need protection too. At present there is a 300m exclusion zone around the baby sea eagles at Corunna Lake. Forestry have confirmed that they are waiting for the babies to begin to fly, so the 300m can reduce to 50m around the nest. Most of this 50m is either out at sea, or it is on the beach. In reality, logging will occur just 25m from the Sea Eagles.
Forestry Corp need to apply the recommendations of the Marine Park Authority which call for greater protections of Corunna Lake and a halt to logging operations in the warmer months to prevent toxic algal blooms and act in the best interests of pubic safety. Forestry Corp NSW must follow the advice of the Batemans Bay Marine Park Authority and leave the lake alone - at least until the weather cools down.
Tilba Tilba Lake
Corunna Forest is a watershed that drains to two fragile lake systems at the foot of Gulaga. The streams leaving Corunna Forest on the ocean side of the forest drain to Victoria Creek which opens in to Tilba Tilba Lake, which is prone to complete fish kill in the summer months if sediment increases in response to soil disturbance discharging into the creeks. As the forest is at the headway of these creeks, greater protection must be put in place.
Protect the Giants of Macquarie Street
These giant stands are highly valued by the community and must be protected. They are vital habitat for protected species and all wildlife at Corunna. We need the Giants of Macquarie Street left in place for future generations of Masked Owls.
Finding a Masked Owl at Corunna Forest is a miracle.
It is a testimony to the value of leaving 100 year old trees in place. This forest was last logged 30 years ago. There are no tree hollows in most of the forest - the trees need another 100-200 years to reach that maturity.
Forestry estimate most of the trees at Corunna are around 100 years old. That's why the Masked Owl lives here. But the Masked Owl won't simply move on to a new home. They don't. Once their habitat is gone, they die out too.
The land Forestry wants to log fronts right onto a fragile sea lake between Mystery Bay and Tilba. You can hear the waves crashing from inside the forest. That's why the Sea Eagle has two nests here. But what will become of them once Forestry knocks down the forest right at their doorstep?
They will be shredding the Forest as close as 25m from the nest, and leaving the canopy of the forest floor as a massive fire risk. The logging is scheduled to happen all the way along the highway, both sides of the road, between these two beautiful towns on the Nature Coast of New South Wales.
It's time to speak up for the Masked Owl, it's time to speak up for the baby Sea Eagles. This is our last chance. This is not about taking away the few jobs left in the forestry industry. It's about sustainably managed resources, plantation and habitats that cater for the needs of all animals, not just humans.
The logging is happening as we speak. The Sea Eagles may have only weeks left. The Masked Owl only days. The Giants of Macquarie Street will be lost or generations. The Lakes will be off limits, and no one knows how long it will be until they recover, if they ever do.