It seems the mainstream media have finally caught-on with an article in today’s Sydney Morning Herald entitled Cattlemen stealing water, irrigators say .
The piece by Daniel Lewis includes comment from Chris:
“Chris Hogendyk, the head of the irrigator group Macquarie River Food and Fibre, said the Gum Cowal-Terrigal branch of the marshes received less than 10 per cent of flood flows before 1980 but now got up to 30 per cent of what previously went to the nature reserves. There were once no large bird breeding colonies on the system, he said, but now there were several.
“The water should be going to the nature reserves, not onto private land. Once water enters the Gum Cowal-Terrigal system it is diverted and banked up across the floodplain by no less than 30 banks and channels.
“This water creates wonderful feed for fattening cattle, but kills the trees that are flooded. The resulting man-made wetlands are grazed bare.”
“Mr Hogendyk said rather than buying more water, the Government had to get rid of the banks and channels or buy the private land being flooded and set it aside for conservation.”
I understand that contrary to the Sydney Morning Herald article, Chris and Gill are keen for land to be purchased by The Australian Wildlife Conservancy or Bush Heritage – not government.
I am not sure that land needs to be purchased. But some of the levy banks need to be removed and some controls placed on grazing.