Report extracts Aire Heritage River
Heritage Rivers and Natural Catchment Areas, Nov. 1997 draft strategy plan.
There are a number of draft prescriptions that comment on the need to minimise logging impacts outside the Aire river corridor.
Section 3, Aire River (page 31-50)
Minimise visual intrusions, particularly any timber harvesting outside the corridor, and high visitor areas such as Hopetoun Falls, Aire Crossing and Hordern Vale.
Note: This recommendation has only been partly implemented by the Heritage Rivers Act providing a 100 meter wide buffer on the Aire river.
Section 4.2 Water quality
Establish water quality parameters for potential impacts that timber harvesting operations, including roading and landing area, in adjacent forest and plantations may have in the HR corridor.
Section 6.2 Pathogens
Monitor for the presence of Myrtle Beech and other fungus or pathogens, and take appropriate action to minimise risk of spread.
Note: The presence of myrtle wilt as not yet been addressed. The width of reserves (buffers) between logging and rainforest is not adequate to prevent the artificial elevation of myrtle wilt within rainforest.
6.7.2 Heritage and Representative Rivers
The LCC have reviewed Victorian Rivers and Streams (LCC
1990). The Aire River was identified as a Heritage River. The Gellibrand
River (upstream of Carlisle River) and Kennedys Creek (upstream of Kennedys
Creek township) were selected as Representative Rivers which typify two
distinctive geomorphological and hydrological catchment types.
Give priority to the Representative Rivers for rehabilitation
and protection works ..... High Priority
Aire Forest (9,800 ha)
(a) The attractive wet gully plant communities (including tall eucalypts, some of the tallest examples of myrtle beech in the State, blackwoods and tree-ferns) along the Aire River and major tributaries be delineated and protected by reservation for conservation values under section 50 of the Forests Act 1958.
Note 1: Council considers that the width of the reserves referred to in (a) above should be sufficient size to protect the plant communities and the water resources from possible effect of nearby forestry operations.
No water abstractions are proposed for the Aire River until at least 2030, when it is envisaged that a further review of water requirements will be undertaken in the south-west of Victoria.
Forest management planning for the available timber resources has taken account of the significant values contained along the Aire River. The importance of this stream corridor was highlighted in Council's Corangamite Area Final Recommendations (1978) and specific recommendations were made for its protection. The Proposed Forest Management plan for the Otways protects this corridor by a 200-m-wide buffer on each side of the river in the lower gorge (downstream from Clearwater Creek), with a 100-m-wide buffer on each side upstream from there to the Aire Valley Plantation.
The Aire River corridor, described above, would add adjoining areas of rainforest (protected under the Code of Forest Practices) and areas of old growth ash forest on steep slopes (protected under prescriptions). There is accordingly no impact on timber resources.
Council also considered a uniform 200-m-wide corridor (on each side) in this section (below the softwood plantation), however this would have effected 140 ha of productive hardwood forest, carrying some 12,000 cubic metres of standing mountain ash D+ grade sawlogs, including 66 ha of mature/overmature forest incorporating 'old growth' areas and carrying a standing volume of 5,150 cu.m. A wider corridor would also have included 15 ha of sawlog quality blackwood, carrying 600 cu.m and overall, reduce regional yield by 2.5 % in the short term. This proposal was therefore rejected.
That the 35 km river corridor from Hopetoun Falls to the ocean shown on Map A16 be used in accordance with general recommendations A1--A17(a) to (l) above
(n) the following significant values be protected
(i) scenic landscapes from the commencement of the
corridor to the mouth of the gorge, and below Lake Craven
(o) the following important features be protected
(i) habitat for platypus
(p) other recreation activities continue where permitted
in accordance with land status
and that the corridor be managed by the Department of Conservation and Environment, in conjunction with the Rural Water Commission in relation to waterway management.
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