Have your say on new guidelines for managing native vegetation on roadsides

Please let us know your thoughts on the new The Interim Guidelines for the Management of Roadside Native Vegetation by leaving a comment in the box below.

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David Mussared

18 Dec 2018

This seems to be yet another incremental clawback of South Australia's once-proud native vegetation laws, allowing yet more loopholes for native vegetation to be cleared.

In the Adelaide Hills (and probably elsewhere), road verges are frequently the only remaining connections between fragmented patches of bushland, and often represent significant remnant fragments in their own right. These proposed changes appear to nibble away at existing protections for such areas, and legitimise the idea that by default all road verges need to be managed uniformly to the detriment of native vegetation.

Surely 'country lanes' and 'scenic roads' can be maintained in near-natural state, with perceived traffic hazards managed via speed restrictions and through traffic barriers / traffic slowing devices rather than destruction of vegetation. Surely we can do better than to sacrifice our remnant bushland patches on the altar of legalistic 'risk management'?

Just a few more slices in the death of 1,000 cuts.

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Chris Blaikie

12 Dec 2018

Another backwards move by South Australia. Our roadside remnant vegetation sites are in terrible condition and are routinely destroyed by spraying, ploughing, grading and road alterations (with no official decision making or consequences).
NRMs investigation of vegetation destruction is a joke. South Australia is crooked and backwards.

Chris Blaikie > Chris Blaikie

12 Dec 2018

I'd add that if you don't know what species are in your roadside that you want to destroy you are probably not qualified to be deciding its fate.

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Mary Retallack

09 Dec 2018

Roadside vegetation provides a valuable natural resource to ensure biological and functional diversity is maintained. Native vegetation cover is already less than 5% in many of our production areas in South Australia. As the proportion of suitable habitat in the landscape is reduced to less than 30% of original vegetation cover, this will have a negative effect on species number and population density. Threatened species will invariably continue to be lost.

Roadside vegetation provides valuable connectivity via biodiversity corridors and ‘stepping stones’ between regions in an already fragmented landscape. Native vegetation provides valuable habitat for a range of species including native bats, birds and predatory arthropods that contribute towards ecosystem services. Stands of native vegetation adjacent to perennial production areas have been associated with increased biodiversity benefits.

Native plants are consistently reported as having low occurrence of pests and high occurrence of natural enemies. There are many additional benefits of retaining native vegetation including weed suppression, erosion control, aesthetics, nutrient cycling, soil water retention, soil organic carbon production and enhanced soil biological activity.

There is indisputable evidence that the efficiency of some ecosystem functions is reduced as biodiversity is lost. Change within an ecosystem accelerates as biodiversity loss increases. Conversely, as biodiversity increases so does the stability of ecosystem functions through time and diverse communities tend to be more productive.

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Klaus Frohlich

08 Dec 2018

I find it absolutely devastating that in 2018, with climate change a reality our government is trying to increase the clearing of some of the last refuges for native vegetation, native bird and wildlife along our road verges. Us humans have to fast come to terms with that we are sharing this planet with other species, even if that seems sometimes inconvenient ! I agree that we need to manage invasive weeds and feral animals and were there is some danger. But the wholesale destruction of roadside vegetation surely is not the answer.
Some of the most beautiful scenery in places like Kangaroo Island and Yorke Peninsula are due to the native vegetation along the roads!
Please don't bulldoze everything into submission for human's sake!
Klaus Frohlich

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Prue Henschke

04 Dec 2018

Having been on the Native Vegetation Council in the past and witnessed more and more clearance, mostly for plausible reasons, but the fact that there was minimal enhancement of native vegetation in the broader scale left me quite devastated. There was very little consideration of building up the native vegetation required to support remnant and dying populations of fauna in particular, birds in a State where there is such a low coverage of native vegetation.
I am sure councils could, as 'payment' for their proposed removal, increase their commitment to regeneration and weed removal along roadsides with a lesser rating of native vegetation quality. Removal of high fire rating grasses such as Phalaris, etc can be restored with native grasses and understorey (proven to stall a fire front) and, at the same time, enhance the foraging grounds for smaller species such as Diamond Firetails. Instead of fullscale removal, revegetation with more appropriate native plant species would be of some advantage to the environment both aesthetically and as habitat and food supply.
Landholders benefitting from the clearance/trimming of native vegetation should be part of the payback deal as well, by expanding the roadside verge within their fencelines and creeklines and revegetating less accessible sections of their land. So those farmers with high loading trucks and trailers should put back into the landscape what they are asking to be cleared for their business to operate - a condition that should be part of their business of being environmentally sustainable.
Trees are usually the oldest structures in the landscape and should be protected from clearance - it is our Australian landscape and unless the neighbouring landholder can revegetate corridors, windbreaks and shelterbelts and environmental buffer zones within the roadside fenceline, removal is a huge cost to our local native environment. Most properties with a sustainability plan commit to 30% native vegetation - this commitment could be supported by councils as a trade-off for any clearance.
As far as the age limit goes, there is no point to revegetation (whether natural or planted) if it is not protected - one of the biggest issues with revegetation and Landcare sites, which takes hours and hours of dedicated volunteers' time. The blanket guideline of removal of native vegetation without regard to structural level on the 1 metre edge or the 1-3 metre verge is a retrograde step. So annoying to see this part of the landscape as the spread of weeds like Pentaschistis, Scabiosa, Gazania, among many others and to spend many manhours of weed removal because of a lack of duty of care to the environment.

Prue Henschke

Chris Blaikie > Prue Henschke

12 Dec 2018

mostly plausible

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Liz Livingston

03 Dec 2018

We need to be protecting South Australia's native vegetation. We now need to retain as much vegetation as possible and roadsides provide a contiguous vestige of what was once here. Roadsides contain the keystone of South Australia's remnant vegetation and as such have enormous value as part of our heritage.
These corridors provide essential wind breaks in over cleared farm land
They are the surviving record of what was here across much of the State.
Remnant roadside vegetation forms important wildlife corridors and habitat for native species.
Roadside vegetation houses all sorts of animals, insects etc that are vital for agriculture and natives as plant pollinators. These pollination services .Native insect species and potential host plants may be found in remnant vegetation, the most widespread of which occurs along roadsides.
Please protect these green corridors and use common sense to manage safety.

Government Agency

Native Vegetation Branch > Liz Livingston

03 Dec 2018

Thanks for the feedback Liz. Your comments will be considered prior to finalising the Guidelines.

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Linda Pfitzner

02 Dec 2018

Native veg is a huge issue on country roads, yes it looks nice and serves many purposes BUT it also creates many issues that have been getting worse over time due to the lack of management.
Moving machinery along roads has become a great issue to safety, not only for the operator but any oncoming traffic, even with the required escorts, signs and lights, the overhang onto the road allows nowhere for the operator to go. Damage to either the machinery or the oncoming vehicle is likely.
Interestingly reading the guidelines I notice with delight that the road needs to be cleared at a height of 5m to the verge edge, most roads even main roads are only cleared to the edge of the bitumen at that height, the Clare to Farrell Flat road an example. It is terrible to move machinery along due to the overhanging trees, a car driver would not realise the issue. The need to move to the middle of the road to avoid the overhanging tree and I'm only doing 40km/hr and the car coming from behind at 100km/hr on the straight stretch of road doesn't realise I need to get into the middle to avoid the tree you can imagine what might happen.
Every Council works manager and DPTI road manager should be made to take a stock crate or Drop deck of hay @ 4.6 high on all their roads they would then realise how many trees need to be managed / removed and the safety risks to all road users.
It's great to see a sensible approach to managing this important asset

Government Agency

Native Vegetation Branch > Linda Pfitzner

03 Dec 2018

Hi Linda, we appreciate your feedback in regard to the management of overhanging limbs associated with large machinery movement. Your comments will contribute to the considerations prior to finalising the Guidelines.

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Sean Day

01 Dec 2018

Bush Fire Safety, has not been taken into account. Living inside the zone hit by the Sampson Flat fire the road side vegitation now present is by far and away more dangerous than it was at the time of the fire. The road side cannot be cleared of grasses, in some place 6ft high, but I'm required to put in a fire brake on my side of the fence. The policy does not go far enough to recognize fire danger. The protection of plants and animals is important, however, the road sides are not the only location where they exist.
The policy makers need to understand the real impact they are having on the landowners, and on the ability of the bush to recover after a fire. Come and visit the area impacted by the Sampson Flat fire and see how well it's recovered. A single fire will clear the road side of all grass and leaf matter and leave it scarred for years with dead trees. Land owners need the ability to remove the lower storey grasses to reduce the risk to the existing trees and their own property, without having to jump through bureaucratic hoops, many of which we are unwittingly unaware of.

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Ron Daniel

30 Nov 2018

I have not read any reports in these comments of the damage that introduced weeds (Buffel Grass& South African Rue) do to the native vegetation along our roadsides. These weeds are spreading rapidly along some of our major highways and choking out the native vegetation. I have reported these weeds at different times to NRM but always have had to make follow up call to see if anything has been done. Stop the spread of these weeds and then we can help the native vegetation.

Government Agency

Native Vegetation Branch > Ron Daniel

03 Dec 2018

Thanks Ron, a reduction in weed species amongst the native vegetation will certainly improve it's health. Furthermore, contacting the NRM regarding the presence of declared weed species is the appropriate action as per the NRM Act 2004. Reducing the number of these species will go a long way in improving the health of biodiversity. Thanks again for your comment.

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Vincent Monterola

29 Nov 2018

Roadside vegetation in rural areas is necessary for a variety of reasons. Where possible a verge of at least 4 metres from a road edge to the starting edge of vegetation has road safety benefits. However to achieve that would mean encroaching on farming land to ensure a reasonable width of vegetation. A dilemma but something needing sensible consideration.

Fire safety is a major concern yet to be addressed. There has been evidence in recent years where bushfires have spread along corridors of roadside vegetation. We need to introduce a program of fire breaks at intervals along any length of roadside vegetation to prevent or slow progress of fire. Fire behaviour experts would need to advise the distance apart the breaks would be required to prove beneficial. They would also need to decide what length the breaks would need to be.
Removal of fallen branches and trees from roadside vegetation areas is prohibited because they provide shelter for small fauna. However these same branches and trees also provide fuel for bushfires. To mitigate the loss of life and property seen in various parts of the state, when we encourage people to cleanup their properties before the fire danger season, removal of flammable material from the ground along roadside vegetation must be permitted, even encouraged.

Fred Fred > Vincent Monterola

30 Nov 2018

Yes to provide shelter for those 100s of thousands of road travellers who dont like using caravan pks or parking bays. All they have to do is make yet another track through the road side veg killing all the young trees and bushes.
Then there are the ones that need a bit of wire and help themselves to your fencing wire. Cut it and leave a gaping hole for the livestock to wonder through.

Then there is the community greenie livestock that wonder freely through our crops helping themselves tromping like there greenie counterparts on nice young plants. Drinking our water like their caravaning travellers. Helping themselves to our tank and meter water that we pay for. Well done all you green travellers.
That bottom your bearing in that nice big bush or the tap your turning on to steal water .... smile your on satellite cam. :)
Well done you greenie riad travellers.

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Sarah Macdonald

29 Nov 2018

The Interim Guidelines look ok to this plebian. It doesn't seem like it will denude the roadsides, just control it enough to keep every one safe.
We have cleared far too much vegetation already and do need to keep roadside growth as wind breaks, and wildlife corridors.
I'm not sure why we want dead wood on the verges - we don't want to encourage wildlife to live on the edge of the road and it could fuel fires.
I'm really glad to see chemical spray is minimised.

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Fred Fred

29 Nov 2018

You obviously have never lived in the country. Where every day on the dirt roads is a battle between you your vehicle and nature. A wider corridor along country roads gives us and the animals a bigger chance of avoiding each other. It is nerve racking during the day and ten times worse at night.

Also the wider corridor gives us some distance between us and the oncoming fire. Not much but coukd be that big tree removed that doesn't fall across the road or bush that goes on fire. Think about the human casualties avoided. Nit to mention tge animals that take refuge on tge road during fires.

Fred Fred > Fred Fred

29 Nov 2018

Sorry for repeating myself.. must have hit the enter button by mistake ...glasses fogged up sorry for the typos

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Fred Fred

29 Nov 2018

The country is a beautiful place to be. You obviously have not been hit by a kandgaroo, emu, camel or any other animal that comes flying at you from behind one of those nice big bushes or trees. Clearing the trees back from tge riad gives us and tge animals a chance, either ti save themsekves or ourselves and vehicke from colision. Alsi, it gives ys contry fokk a wider corridor to drive diwn in thecase i

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Roger Shea

29 Nov 2018

I agree with many of the points raised, however my issue concerns the way in which removal or clearing is done. Usually the responsible authority clears part or both sides of the roadway and I think this is a big mistake. Native animals frequently inhabit these vegetation remnants, currently on either side. My observations over many years on many (particularly) rural roads, are that most animals are killed by vehicles while they attempt to cross from one side to the other. I believe we have created a huge problem for all our animals and birds by doing this over many years, as well as by placing roadways unnecessarily in the centre of the allocated road corridor. Whilst this may give travellers the illusion of driving through forests or bushland, it is also a death sentence for many of our valued species. I think the State and local government authorities need to consider clearing a minimal amount of vegetation, but on ONE side of the road only. At least, in theory, this should provide a much enhanced, larger habitat for our animals, and may reduce the carnage that presently occurs as the animals may not see the need to cross the roadway at all, with the added bonus of avoiding traffic collisions with some of our larger species. Large pipes under roads have also been a great idea in a few selected areas, however, I'm sure the cost of doing that on any large scale would be prohibitive.

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Native Vegetation Branch > Roger Shea

03 Dec 2018

Hi Roger, thank you for your comments. Any suggestions on reducing the mortality of our native fauna is always encouraged, however it is very difficult to prevent fauna movement over roadways without significant infrastructure upgrades as you mention (tunnels under the road). It is an important aspect of roadside management that will be discussed and considered prior to finalising the Guidelines.

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laurence charman

29 Nov 2018

I think this police should go one step further allowing people to collect fallen or dead wood from the road side so it will reduce the bush fire risk as we know bush fires can and will start on the road side and can run for miles spreading accros the state

Government Agency

Native Vegetation Branch > laurence charman

03 Dec 2018

Hi Laurence, fallen timber can be removed from roadsides with the permission from the local council. For further information I recommend visiting our website https://www.environment.sa.gov.au/topics/native-vegetation/clearing or your local council.

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carolyn O'Callaghan

29 Nov 2018

Please stop this appalling act of destroying the vegetation on our roadsides,in SA thier is very little left apart from either open farmlands which have been over cleared,or ugly billboards,buildings etc.We need to leave the vegetation not only for our own views,they also make good windbreaks,and give the already struggling native animals survival areas.Maybe we need to access private residence lands first and start vegetating their properties before we even consider this destruction.

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Ian Fox

21 Nov 2018

These guidelines are a backward step in recovering South Australia's native vegetation. Let's be clear here, we can no longer continue to frame this as 'managing' the vegetation. We've now gone way beyond that and must re-frame the discussion around our responsibility to the future. Necessarily, this requires us to retain as much vegetation as possible and roadsides provide a contiguous vestige of what was once here. Roadsides contain the keystone of South Australia's remnant vegetation and as such have enormous value as part of our heritage:
1. They are the surviving record of what was here across much of the State;
2. Remnant roadside vegetation forms vital wildlife corridors and habitat for native species;
3. Roadside vegetation houses a number of species that are vital for agriculture as plant pollinators. These pollination services are increasingly important as European bee populations come under increasing global threat. Native insect species and potential host plants may be found in remnant vegetation, the most widespread of which occurs along roadsides. Trials to find potential native pollinators and host plants are under way.

It is not necessary for the NVC to amend guidelines in a way that does little more than provide a service to Councils and others to facilitate clearing native vegetation, in fact, it is contrary to what many would think is the NVC's role. I urge careful consideration of these proposed changes and place the vegetation at the fore of your deliberations.

Government Agency

Native Vegetation Branch > Ian Fox

03 Dec 2018

Hi Ian, Thank you for the feedback. The importance of the native vegetation within the road reserves has certainly been a consideration as we try and balance maintaining road safety and conservation. You make important points which will be considered prior to finalising the Guidelines.

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Tim Kelly

18 Nov 2018

Key themes from my draft submission
1. The new guidelines require the removal of a vast number of large and significant trees across the landscape, particularly those occurring on smaller unsealed roads used by local traffic only. The Native Vegetation Council have not quantified the environmental impact of these guidelines, such as how many large and significant trees would be removed if the guidelines were fully implemented.

2. The new guidelines only provide options to remove more native vegetation for safety, despite that for many roads, particularly unsealed roads, more clearance and verge widening may increase the speed of traffic and increase the frequency and speed of collisions.

3. On many unsealed roads, the width of the carriageway, verge, travelled way, primary clearance envelope and secondary envelope is not clear or may vary along many sections of the same road. Unsealed roads do not show the darker and lighter shadings as used in the diagrams of this document. Therefore, the retention of all large and significant trees and native vegetation along these unsealed roads is at the mercy of interpretation. As soon as a car drives into a tree on such a road, then there is a risk of legal action from those seeking to apply the widest possible interpretation. It can be expected that councils may therefore over react to achieve what is required under the guidelines.

4. Only two types of road are identified, being sealed and unsealed. For the sealed roads, there are only two speed ratings >80 km/h and < 80 km/h. These categories are totally inadequate to appropriately address road safety and environmental assets. There is no recognition of high transit roads being different from rural residential and local traffic roads. It is suggested that there new categories be added as alternative strategies to destroying large and significant trees and other roadside native vegetation including:
• Rural residential road at less than 60 km/h
• Rural residential road at less than 50 km/h
• Biodiversity or wildlife zone road at less than 60 km/h
• Biodiversity or wildlife zone road at less than 50 km/h
• Significant tree/Biodiversity asset speed constraint (25 km/h - 40 km/h slow down point to pass biodiversity hazard that may be within the primary or secondary clearance envelope.

5. Ongoing issues associated with guard railing and the interaction of Regulation 11(23) and 12(24) have not been addressed. Without addressing this matter, thousands more large and significant trees are at risk of removal.

Government Agency

YourSAy > Tim Kelly

30 Nov 2018

Previous comment has been deleted as it did not adhere to our community guidelines.
https://yoursay.sa.gov.au/community-guidelines

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Native Vegetation Branch > Tim Kelly

03 Dec 2018

Hi Tim, this is really helpful and well considered feedback. Additionally, your comments sent to the Native Vegetation Council email have been also very useful and will be given further consideration prior to finalising Guidelines.

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Rowan Harding

14 Nov 2018

Please protect and preserve these last vestiges of our native flora. Providing free rein to chop away with little oversight seems unreasonable.

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Grant Bussell

12 Nov 2018

The roadside remnants of Australia's forests are an invaluable treasure for us. Please, protect the little that we have left. They can literally seed the development of 'drought fodder' forests in livestock country on adjacent properties. Lynda has a good point regarding bushfires - anywhere in residential areas should use less flammable forest and buffers than eucalypts (and melaleucas). Wattles, sheoaks. That's not to say no gum trees. Gum trees are the most incredible plant, and can provide valuable high canopy for shading the land from a warming climate.

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YourSAy > Grant Bussell

30 Nov 2018

Previous reply to this comment has been deleted as it does not adhere to our community guidelines.
https://yoursay.sa.gov.au/community-guidelines

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Cathy Chua

08 Nov 2018

"The Interim Guidelines allow greater capacity for local councils to undertake clearance of native vegetation regrowth on roadsides up to 20 years of age (Previously 5 years). This will allow local councils to undertake the majority of their roadside vegetation maintenance without requiring any approval." Why not just chop the lot down, then we'll never have to worry about the trouble of applying. Why have any trees in the countryside? Let's make it like the city.

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Lynda Loades

06 Nov 2018

About time the government reconised the dangers of roadside vegitation/ weeds ect when it comes to bushfires. Makes it so much easier for bushfires to cross roads when there is dries 6 ft weeds on sides of roads. You could get gangs/ prisoners to go out and get rid of it before fire season, especially around towns in the country/hills,. , Getting rid of grasses/weeds around trees ect, makes it harder for trees to ignite. It looks terrible as well as being a danger, Farmers have to put a break around their fencesm but hey a yard away is 6ft weeds, Use common sense.

Government Agency

Native Vegetation Branch > Lynda Loades

03 Dec 2018

Hi Lynda, Thank you for your input and concerns regarding the management of roadsides for fire purposes. Coming into Summer it is certainly an issue that the CFS and the local councils will continue to address.

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