This morning Lee Blessington from Forestry Corporation was interviewed by Simon Lauder of ABC South East in regards to the sightings of the Masked Owl and Sea Eagles in the area currently being logged in the Corunna State Forest.
AUDIO: Lee Blessington interviewed by Simon Lauder 9th Oct 2018
A Corunna Forest spokesperson told the Beagle following the interview that: "Forestry tried to close the Lake side of Corunna Forest on Monday, then revoked the closure. We think this is because the Marine Park Authority wrote to Forestry back in August stating that the setback around the lake was not sufficient. "Forestry have twice stated in writing that they take their advice on the protections around the lake from the Marine Park Authority. The Marine Park Authority stated in their advice to Forestry that they are ALSO worried about algal bloom and fish kills in response to the logging if the harvest goes ahead in the warmer months. "The EPA were notified of this and are presently investigating. Secondly; Forestry are claiming they are not required to act to protect the Masked Owl. "Clause 6.4 of the Threatened Species License Forestry operate under says in the case of a sighting of a Masked Owl, either a 300HA exclusion zone is triggered (SITE BASIS) or a 300HA patch of land elsewhere needs to be set aside (LANDSCAPE BASIS). "Forestry have elected to apply the Landscape basis. "Forestry and EPA have both been asked - Where is the 300HA offset?" "As neither Forestry OR the EPA have been able to say where that 300HA of owl habitat is, then the community has requested Forestry to revert to the SITE basis and leave the forest. Either that or allow the community back in to locate the Owl nest. The Corunna Forest spokesperson said today "There is no evidence that Forestry staff are in attendance looking for the owl nest, and residents are locked out. Forestry have also announced they will be finished the whole job in 6-8 weeks. The Sea Eagle babies are NOT due to leave the nest until January - so how is this possible? "They have confirmed that they are presently waiting for the Sea Eagles to leave the nest so the 300m exclusion zone can revert to 50m. Most of this is out at sea, a good amount of it is beach. The reality is that they would then be logging up to 25m away from the sea eagles.
Photo (c) David Gallan
"The land Forestry wants to log fronts right onto a fragile sea lake between Mystery Bay and Tilba. You can hear the waves crashing from inside the forest. That's why the Sea Eagle has two nests here. But what will become of them once Forestry knocks down the forest right at their doorstep? They will be shredding the Forest as close as 25m from the nest, and leaving the canopy of the forest floor as a massive fire risk. "The logging is scheduled to happen all the way along the highway, both sides of the road, between these two beautiful towns on the Nature Coast of New South Wales. "It's time to speak up for the Masked Owl, it's time to speak up for the baby Sea Eagles. This is our last chance. This not about taking away the few jobs in the forestry industry. It's about sustainably managed resources, plantation habitats that cater for the needs of all animals, not just humans."