Arkins Creek Catchment
The Arkins Creek catchment (about 2000 ha) is located in the Western Otways near Lavers Hill. It is an important sub-catchment of the Gellibrand River and forms an important part of the Warrnambool water supply system. The top 300 ha of crown land combined with another 470 ha of private reforested land, are above weirs that divert water to Warrnambool. This area (including the private land) is reserved for water production and managed by the South West Water Authority. Water is piped by gravity to Camperdown and then to Warrnambool.
Find out more about the impact of clearfell logging on domestic water supplies.
The lower proportion of the catchment below the weirs is State Forest available for clearfell logging with about 88 ha of private forested land owned by South West Water.
There has only ever been one area clearfell logging in the Arkins Creek catchment in the early 1990's. Prior to that the catchment had a history of selective logging early last century. Arkins creek consists of forests with a high proportion of 1919 regrowth forest (biodiverse forest over 80 years old) with a high density of veteran pre-European aged trees.
What makes the catchment important is the fact that from Carlisle River to the Otways Ridge, there is continuous undisturbed mountain forest in a very natural state. This is rare in the western Otways. Forest ecosystems from manna gum up to mountain ash and Cool Temperate Rainforest form a continuous mosaic of forest. The lower reaches of the catchment are inaccessible to people with no roads or walking tracks for access.
See more information about Natural Landscapes.
Since 1999 Forestry Victoria have planned a major road building program to open up Arkins Creek for clearfell logging. New roads would come in from the north over Carlisle River. The plan is to rebuild the Link Track road, construct a ford or bridge over the Carlisle River and then construct a new road up into the remote lower reaches of Arkins Creek.
A number of forest areas are scheduled for logging including a coup called Delaney Quattro that will significantly contribute to the fragmentation of the Carlisle State Park.
The upper reaches of the Arkins creek catchment is made up of an area recognised as the Arkins Creek "Water Supply Purposes Reserve" (550 ha). An area about 245 ha below the weirs in the Water Supply Purposes Reserve is available for logging. Forestry Victoria plans to clearfell log two areas over the next three years using existing road networks.
See Link Track for map of where logging is proposed
Opposition to logging
To date the Warrnambool City Council has formally written to the Environment Minister Sherryl Garbutt , requesting road construction not go ahead in the Link Track area. The Council's concerns relate mainly to threats logging and roading would cause to domestic water supply for Warrnambool and the dairy industry.
OREN negotiated with the Minister's office last year and at the eleventh hour succeeded in getting logging postponed till the 2002/03 logging season. Negotiations are continuing but the area is still available for logging.
If adoption by Government, a proposal by the Geelong Environment Council to expand the Otway National Park will link up Carlisle State Park (Vie Link Track), and provide adequate protection of wildlife corridors and Arkins Creek.
See the Geelong Environment Council's website for more details.
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