The Gladstone State Forest logging blockade near Bellingen.
The Gladstone State Forest logging blockade near Bellingen. Contributed

Environmentalists report pollution claims to EPA

REPRESENTATIVES of the Bellingen Environment Centre claim logging in the Gladstone State Forest has caused the pollution of local waterways following heavy rain yesterday.

Community members of the BEC have made a pollution line incident report citing that sediment has contaminated Woods Creek in the Gladstone State Forest following recent logging and heavy rainfall.

The incident was reported at the corner of Sunny Corner and Woods Creek roads in Gladstone State Forest and followed the failure of erosion prevention measures the Forest Corporation were required to install there prior to logging.

The NSW Environment Protection Authority this afternoon  confirmed it was investigating a report related to this incident. 

Meanwhile, the Forestry Corporation of NSW has also been contacted for comment. 

This latest development comes after conservationists have staged a protracted blockade of logging operations in Gladstone State Forest.

BEC spokesman Ashley Love said the Forestry Corporation is required to install rubber flaps on either road (Sunny Corner and Woods creek) to deflect runoff and to construct silt mesh retainers at the runoff point is included in the harvest plan for the forest.

"The pollution into Woods Creek was first observed and recorded at 1.40pm on Tuesday, March 6," Mr Love said.

"In June 2017 community representatives first reported to the EPA failures in implementation of erosion control measures at this site in Gladstone State Forest.

"No results of the investigation have been provided as yet by the EPA."

He said a timely response by the EPA to the first report may have averted the current pollution incident asaid a BEC representative.

"In 2015 the Forest Corporation was fined $15,000 for causing in excess of 100 cubic meters of sediment to be washed into in the Never Never catchment in February of that year," Mr Love said.

"In that incident the EPA found the forest Corporation had failed to deliver appropriate due diligence in its forestry operations to implement effective erosion and sediment control measures.

"Both Gladstone and Never Never State Forests are both located in the highly erosion prone Nambucca Soil Beds.

"The section of section of Gladstone State forest being logged was assessed by the Forest Corporation in its harvest planning as having dispersible soils with a high inherent hazard level and the presence of mass movement or evidence of soil instability."

Environmentalists have staged a blockade to hinder logging operations in the Gladstone State Forest.
Environmentalists have staged a blockade to hinder logging operations in the Gladstone State Forest. Contributed

The BEC has called for an end to logging in Gladstone State Forest and in headwaters of the Bellinger and Kalang and Nambucca rivers.



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