What do you think of the proposal to add land to Cape Torrens Wilderness Protection Area?

Read the Parks and Wilderness Council’s Wilderness Assessment Report and tell us your views on the proposal to add land to the Cape Torrens Wilderness Protection Area. Join the discussion below.

Comments closed

John Shortt-Smith

21 Jun 2019

We own Cape Forbin Retreat, above the De Mole mouth. We have just come across this quite by accident when, unusually, I happened to glance at the YourSAy website. We had been completely unaware of any such proposal.

The proposal makes sense and is overdue. The piece of land is plainly an important part of the whole area and deserving of proper protection. If anything the downstream De Mole River area (of which this piece of land forms a relatively small but important part) has, pound for pound (in our inexpert view) greater wilderness and ecological value than the rest of the Wilderness Protection Area. Good plan for the longer term and we support it.

But there are two aspects we would like to address, with a dose of reality.

De Mole water catchment:

First, the proposal will not, as suggested in the Assessment Report and stated on the Department’s website, mean that most of the De Mole catchment will now fall with the Wilderness Protection area. Even with this piece of land incorporated, only a fraction of the overall De Mole catchment (at a rough guess, looking at the Government’s Property Location Browser, somewhere around 10%) will be contained within the Wilderness Protection Area. It is fed by a multitude of both springs and direct runoff streams.

Although normally perennial, the river has ceased to flow lower down a few times in the past few years. No doubt that has always been natural occurrence, but it is of concern when that happens at a time when people are using water from the upstream feeder system to feed sprinklers and marron ponds.

Steps to maintain the water flow and its quality are critical to the ecology. Just talking and listening to people (all of whom, without exception and including those pumping water from the system, do actually value the environment) would be a good start.

Weeds:

Secondly, this piece of land and immediately adjacent parts of the Wilderness Protection Area do have a significant weed problem. There are at least three and possibly four types of thistle. Scotch thistle is the major problem, which has also spread eastwards through neighbouring properties. Isolated examples of the declared variegated thistle still seem to pop up now and again but that seems under control. Near the mouth in recent years – particularly since the storms four years ago – nightshade (blackberry or American) and particularly two-horned sea rocket has become a problem. The sea-rocket, when left uncurbed, unquestionably does tend to displace native shrubs and grasses along the river banks.

We notified the increasing thistle problem to the Department and others many years ago, without response other than to be told that it was not a priority. Since then, predictably, it has become a big problem. We have raised that and the other weed problems again from time to time.

In addition to trying to clear our own property (and at times neighbours’ properties) of Scotch thistle, we and friends have spent at least weeks every year over the past years removing these weeds from this piece of land and the immediately adjacent parts of the Wilderness Protection Area alone (with the exception of western slopes in recent years, which we have given up on). We would estimate we have removed the equivalent of several trailer loads of sea rocket and nightshade alone from that area annually over recent years – and greater quantities of thistle.

The point here is that, if the piece of land looks relatively pristine and free of invasive plants, it is not because it is free of them; nor is it because of any action on the part of the Department in recent years. (We are of course aware of the toll from funding and resourcing cuts.)

Unless practical weed eradication is undertaken by the Department, the incorporation of the piece of land into the Wilderness Protection Area will be of purely symbolic and no real practical value.

Three final comments:

If incorporation into the Wilderness Protection Area were to mean we were to be precluded from removing weeds without permits and red tape – God forbid – it would actually be detrimental to the ecology.

It would also be unfortunate (and inconsistent with the its wilderness quality) if incorporation were to result in ugly signs being put up all over the place. There is no need.

Finally, regarding the obligatory references to possible walking trails and tourism, it would be even more unfortunate if ever in the future the Department and Government attempted anything like the current Flinders Chase AWC fiasco. The possibility seems far-fetched, but a few years ago people would have regarded the idea of conspicuous luxury accommodation on the Flinders Chase coast as far-fetched.

Government Agency

Protected Areas Unit > John Shortt-Smith

21 Jun 2019

Hi John,

Thank you for your submission on the proposal to add land to the Cape Torrens Wilderness Protection Area.

Your submission, along with all other submissions received on the proposal, will be forwarded to the Parks and Wilderness Council, who will make a final recommendation to the Minister for Environment and Water.

Your comments regarding ongoing management of the area will also be forwarded on to local park managers. Should you wish to discuss your comments further, please do not hesitate to get in touch via email at DEWProtectedAreaManagement@sa.gov.au.

Kind regards,

DEW Protected Area Management

Caroline Paterson

28 May 2019

As a past Manager of this WPA I fully support this addition. It will protect the nesting hollows of Glossy Black Cockatoos that are located in the area and critical she-oak woodland habitats in the existing park. It will also add protection to the foraging habitat for both Osprey and White Bellied Sea Eagle and add add support to the seasonal closure of part of the Wilderness Protection Area in place to protect coastal raptor breeding habitat. It needs to be acknowledged that there are variagated nettle incursions in this parcel which will need to be managed and resourced in line with the Code of Management for Wilderness Protection Areas in SA. These have been exasperated by the recent feral goat eradication on KI.

Government Agency

Protected Areas Unit > Caroline Paterson

04 Jun 2019

Hi Caroline, Thank you for your submission on the proposal to add land to the Cape Torrens Wilderness Protection Area. It is wonderful to receive such passionate support, and very much appreciated.

Your submission, along with all other submissions received on the proposal, will be forwarded to the Parks and Wilderness Council, who will make a final recommendation to the Minister for Environment and Water.

If you would like further information on the process, please do not hesitate to contact us at DEWProtectedAreaManagement@sa.gov.au

Kind regards,

DEW Protected Area Management

Darren Longbottom

27 May 2019

Aside from having limited information it seems to be a great outcome, presuming it is not detrimental to or taking resources from other wilderness areas on KI such as Flinders Chase NP.

Government Agency

Protected Areas Unit > Darren Longbottom

04 Jun 2019

Hi Darren, thanks for your comment. The link above opens the Wilderness Assessment Report, which provides further detail on the land proposed for addition to the Cape Torrens Wilderness Protection Area.

Kind regards, DEW Protected Area Management