Mt. Wilson Regrowth
Mt. Wilson Regrowth - Old Man Banksia, Broad-leaved Geebung and Scribbly Gum  (Alan Page)
Blue Mountains Conservation Society
Our mission is to help conserve the natural environment of the Greater Blue Mountains
and to increase awareness of the natural environment in general.
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February edition
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Sunset at The Hut Sunset Gathering 2018  (Ross Coster)
Sunset Gathering
Thursday 27 February
(6.30pm for 7pm start)
The Conservation Hut
Fletcher St, Wentworth Falls

Members, friends and supporters are invited to join us to meet like-minded people and watch the sun setting over the southern Blue Mountains.

If perchance it is cloudy or even raining, seen from the shelter of the Conservation Hut, the national park has its own beauty no matter what the weather and there will be friendship, entertainment and supper inside The Hut.

Dawn Egan renown Celtic harpist will entertain us.

Our Bushfire Representative, Hugh Paterson, will give a short talk, addressing what happened in our recent bushfire crisis and what we can all do from here to help.

On display will be some maps of the Greater Blue Mountains showing the areas impacted by the bushfires.

Blue Mountains Bushfire Watch
Our Blue Mountains Bushfires & Air Quality has a new permanent home. It's now Blue Mountains Bushfire Watch

Conservation Society Bushfire Statement
Gang-gang Cockatoo Gang-gang Cockatoo  (Anne Ashford)
The massive fires occurring across Australia are devastating. The extent, duration and ferocity of the fires is unprecedented in recent times.

The Society is deeply saddened by the loss of life. We offer our heartfelt sympathy to those who have lost a family member, friend or acquaintance. Our thoughts are with all who have been impacted by the fires.

We thank those who have, and who continue to, work to suppress and contain these fires. We applaud the courage of the fire fighters on the frontline and continue to be concerned for their safety. We think of communities directly impacted by fires. We recognise the efforts of rescuers and carers who are working to aid wildlife.

Prolonged and extreme high temperatures coupled with greatly reduced rainfall, extraordinarily low humidity and periods of high and variable winds, have produced fire conditions and fire behaviours previously unknown in the Blue Mountains and Australia.

The extreme and erratic weather behaviour and resultant conditions exemplify the predictions of climate scientists in regard to the impacts of global warming and rapid climate change.

Our full statement describes the impacts on the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, what should be done for the Greater Blue Mountains environment, and immediate, fundamental and medium term actions needed.

We call on both the Commonwealth and State Governments to take immediate action to mitigate rapid climate change. Unless this is done, efforts to address this fire season will be wasted.

Here's our full Bushfire Statement

Here's the Gazette article

GBMWHA 2019-20 Bushfire Impacts
Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby (female) and joey
Wollemi National Park  (Ian Brown)
68% of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area (GBMWHA) was burnt, and an estimated 123 million native animals impacted.

Although 80% of the GBMWHA is within "fire boundaries", 12% of this has been identified as being unburnt.

These figures are the result of detailed analysis by Peter Smith provided in his paper - Impact of the 2019-20 Fires on the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area

The burnt area of each of the eight reserves of the GBMWHA has been calculated.

Peter has also calculated the number of animals impacted by multiplying likely densities of animals* in unburnt habitat by the number of hectares burnt.

The densities are very rough estimates, but are the best available for NSW.

In any case, it is clear that huge numbers of animals have been impacted and most of them have died as a result of the drought, the fires and the shortage of food, water and shelter after the fires.

The unprecedented scale of the fires, leaving few unburnt refuges from which to recolonise, makes the recovery of the fauna highly problematic.

[* Density of mammals, birds and reptiles in NSW is based on C. Johnson, H. Cogger, C. Dickman and H. Ford (2007), Impacts of Landclearing: The Impacts of Approved Clearing of Native Vegetation on Australian Wildlife in New South Wales, WWF-Australia, Sydney.]

GBMWHA Reserve
Area (ha) Burnt (ha) % Burnt
Wollemi NP
502,600 323,898 64
Yengo NP
167,600 136,332 81
Gardens of Stone NP
15,120 9,767 65
Blue Mountains NP
269,200 170,054 63
Kanangra-Boyd NP
71,600 54,041 76
Jenolan KCR
3,146 2,566 82
Nattai NP
50,660 36,258 72
Thirlmere Lakes NP
662 198 30
1,081,000 733,113 68
GBMWHA Native Fauna Impacted
Number impacted by GBMWHA fire
Mammals (excl. bats)
12.8 million
15.2 million
94.6 million
122.6 million

Wildlife Plight
Glossy Black-Cockatoo Glossy Black-Cockatoo  (Jill Dark)
It's estimated that more than one billion animals have been killed in these bushfires and the surviving wildlife face a dire future.

Over 140 million animals in the GBMWHA have been impacted - see Peter Smith's analysis above.

A local resident, the Glossy Black-Cockatoo, provides a clear picture of its post-bushfire plight. Its habitat is almost entirely within the bushfires footprint.

It will only be when our national parks are re-opened can we assess the real damage and develop recovery strategies.

An early estimate is that 75-80% of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area as been affected.

Please give some thought to donating to the Foundation of National Parks and Wildlife or WIRES (NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service).

The following letter, from Debbie Andrew, former NPWS officer, appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald on Monday 13 January -

This bushfire and climate emergency may go down as one of the greatest extinction events for Australian wildlife since European colonisation

An immediate moratorium on all logging and clearing of native forest and woodland across all tenures should be put in place and extended for at least the next five years.

This will allow wildlife authorities to take stock of our precious and unique wildlife and assess what habitat remains for population recovery and re-colonisation.

Surviving habitat should be given immediate protection. Forestry workers could be employed in habitat restoration.

Wildlife and Conservation Bushfire Recovery

Here's the NSW Government's Wildlife and Conservation Bushfire Recovery document.

Wildlife and Conservation
Bushfire Recovery Wildlife and Conservation Bushfire Recovery
The preface by the The Hon. Matthew Kean MP, Minister for Energy and Environment reads in part -

"We are still determining the full magnitude of the damage, in terms of the extent and severity of the fires and the impacts on our wildlife and their natural habitats. Efforts continue to actively fight fires that are still burning in a number of areas of the state. Using state of the art aerial imagery, remote sensing and mapping techniques, our scientists are completing our understanding of the impacts the fires have had on our natural environment and what this means for recovery.

What we know is that many of our most vulnerable species have been heavily impacted as a result of the fires and now face threats from habitat loss, scarcity of food and water and predation by feral animals. While our assessment continues, we are undertaking essential recovery actions right now.

This document sets out the immediate actions we are taking to protect wildlife and support the natural recovery process that has already started in many areas. Our immediate response includes the deployment of watering stations, supplementary food drops, and broad-scale feral animal control. We are also planning for the longer-term restoration and recovery of our native animals, plants and landscapes across New South Wales. We will continue to update our response as we improve our understanding of the impacts of the fires."

Destination Pagoda
Lost City Lost City  (Henry Gold)
Our Destination Pagoda movie was shown to a full house at Mount Vic Flicks on 2 July.

We are now reviewing options for the next screening.

To support the Destination Pagoda vision for a Gardens of Stone State Conservation Area, write a letter to the Hon. Paul Toole, Member for Bathurst and Minister for Regional Transport and Roads, seeking his support for our detailed reserve establishment plan called Destination Pagoda. Mr. Toole’s electorate includes the Gardens of Stone unprotected area.

Here's how to send a letter.

It's very important that Mr. Toole hears from supporters on this proposal. The proposal is at a critical time.

Destination Pagoda proposes a world class tourism and conservation reserve on Lithgow’s doorstep. A new reserve, called the Gardens of Stone State Conservation Area, will complete Myles Dunphy’s visionary 1932 Blue Mountains National Park scheme.

A key design element of Destination Pagoda is the creation of low-key visitor opportunities close to Lithgow beside upgraded existing road access linked to the town. The gentle plateau terrain with its distinctive pagoda rocks contain many sites for a variety of family-suitable, low-key visitor facilities that combine to give Lithgow’s Gardens of Stone great potential to attract visitors interested in experiencing nature.

The beauty of the Destination Pagoda scheme is that new visitor facilities can be established beside pagoda landscapes of great scenic beauty around Lithgow that are need of restoration and rehabilitation, while more remote, pristine landscapes are protected.

The forests next to Lithgow are amongst the most diverse in NSW and contain 84 threatened plant and animal species, including the Blue Mountains Water Skink and Giant Dragonfly, as well as 16 rare and threatened communities. They deserve effective conservation management by the NPWS.

Visit our Gardens of Stone webpages.