About two weeks ago I asked the NSW government whether the levy bank, as shown in this aerial photograph blocking the flow of water into the southern nature reserve in November 2005, was a legal structure.
At the time I was advised by email, following a phone conservation, that:
“We are still trying to identify where this bank/levee/channel is actually constructed. Until we can accurately locate it we cannot say for sure whether it is an approved work or not. Similarly, until we locate it accurately we are unable to ascertain whether it had any impact, adverse or otherwise, on the October/November 05 environmental flow release. The department will contact you again once we have more details.”
Following is a satellite photograph showing the Macquarie Marshes in December 1999 (green areas show flooding) and it is evident that the same levy bank is blocking water from reaching the southern nature reserve and holding it on private land.
Environmentalists, and graziers, and government, all agree the marshes need more water. Indeed reed beds need water. Yet, I received the following justification for the levy bank from the NSW government today:
“Investigations carried out by DNR have now confirmed that the bank in question is located on a water course known as the Monkeygar Creek Return. This embankment was constructed by the then land-holders approximately 15 years ago with the sanction of the then Department of Water Resources and National Parks & Wildlife Service.
This embankment was constructed to slow down the passage of water in the Monkeygar Creek Return so as to prevent serious headward erosion and channelisation of Monkeygar Creek.
Headward stream channel erosion has been a major cause of wetland degradation and this embankment has been beneficial in the establishment and maintenance of important reed beds in the Marshes.
This work is considered to be an environment improvement work because of the benefit it serves to the preservation of the Macquarie Marshes reed beds and by preventing stream channel erosion.”
It doesn’t make sense.
I would like to see the extent of the change in the area of reed bed since that levy bank went in – bet it has contracted.