Community Engagement EIS Officer
Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth Projects
Conservation Policy and Programs
Department for the Environment and Heritage
6 August 2009
Feedback on Socio-economic Impacts of the proposed Management Actions in the Long Term Management Plan for the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth Region
Dear Ms. Wachtel:
Providing serious comments to the social and economic impacts as provided herein has been determined only by current observations in the region including subsequent staging of field events by DEH, the managing agency. The critical focus of DEH is to conserve species, ecological communities and ecosystem services in the region.
Planning is problematic and not progressive to the string of actions required to systematically return the region to it pre-barrage conditions. There are too many loose ends and many individual theories with little if any thought of streaming towards a well constructed program of remediation events.
Much of what is offered in the Invitation to Comment document is before its time whereas there should have been a concise program of steps, each of which fit into a schedule of events towards upgrading and rejuvenating the region. The public requires confidence in planning whereas there appears to be propensity to plan around politics. The government stance with regards to a fresh water result is no longer viable.
From a community perspective, progress so far is untenable and wasteful. A cooperative action between the government and the public should be stimuli to progress, whereas various offers to comment are not given appropriate status to follow-up with serious debate or feedback. For example, this is very apparent in the member line up for the committee as shown in the Weir at Pomanda Island EIS membership.
Having reached a culmination of countless warnings over many years about the likely demise of the Murray Darling Basin system, we have now passed the cross-road to crisis. We are in an ‘Extreme Dry’ situation now.
To halt that crisis from becoming catastrophic, the utmost concern should be to check the acidification of the region with the use of seawater. In parallel, the entry of bio-remediation as a quick fix solution should not progress further until a stage has been reached where the entire lakes and Coorong region is flooded with seawater. The practice of using fine grit lime is not sufficient to properly deal with the overall area and depth of the acid sulphate soils. It is contrary to our best global knowledge on the subject. The grassing of exposed lake and river beds etc is again a trial only yet there is written evidence here in Australia that this will also likely fail.
The key to an outcome is to immediately build the Wellington weir containing a lock, located in an area known with solid base, being part of the pink granite, Padthaway escarpment. This should not become an even longer term, drawn out, politicised affair.
In parallel, immediately commence work on upgrading the barrages to a suitable standard to provide heavy seawater scouring of the channels throughout, to also withstand likely increased sea levels as predicted for the next fifty years.
The health and wellbeing of the surrounding communities is tantamount to finding a speedy resolution to the crisis. Communities, trade and commerce have waited too long for an end to the demise of the region. They deserve a positive and urgent outcome!
Please find accompanying this letter feedback from our group.
Spokesperson for LakesNeedWater.org