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Council and fire department burn rare plants and baby birds

Colin_T

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This has nothing to do with fish and is just me needing to vent/ rant about my local council who burnt an area of bushland last night. Right now I am feeling somewhat annoyed and am thinking about breaking the law, so I need to vent.

Tuesday 17 September 2019
Mandurah council and the Mandurah fire department set fire to the bush at Linville Reserve in Falcon. It was meant to be a controlled burn to clear the leaf litter on the ground, yet flames were seen reaching the top of the Eucalypts and were higher than the power lines.

The council had been informed previously about endangered orchids living on the reserve. A number of the orchids were pointed out to the council’s Myra Giardini the day before they were burnt, including a patch of Diuris (donkey orchids and a patch of Pterostylis, which she didn’t even know about. Ms Giardini told me the orchids would not be burnt. She also said they needed to burn the bush in spring because it was the best time to do it due to weather conditions. They wanted some wind to blow the smoke away.

Ms Giardini told me the council had the reserve surveyed by people associated with Kings Park and they claimed there were no endangered orchids on the reserve. I find that highly unlikely considering I have not seen anybody surveying the reserve and in the unlikely event that a survey was undertaken, they would not have been able to identify 99% of the orchids because the vast majority of them had not flowered. And the only way you can identify most of them is by their flower.

In August 2018 the Mandurah council and the Mandurah fire department burnt Xanthorrhoea (grass plants) on the reserve and killed four of them along with several hundred native orchids. During that burn, the council took great care protecting a single Diuris (donkey orchid) but let several hundred Caladenia and Pterostylis orchids get burnt.

This year they burnt everything on the reserve and that included several thousand native orchids and numerous other spring flowering plants. The flames from the fire reached the top of some trees and have burnt various bird nests that were there. Bronze wing pigeons, crested pigeons and the local magpie family have all lost their babies due to the fire.

Adding insult to injury, at the start of September 2019, council workers went onto the reserve and sprayed Roundup on a patch off orchids and killed over 500 of them. To make this matter worse, the council workers did not spray a large patch of African Daisy that were next to the orchids. The council kills the endemic species and leaves the introduced noxious species alive.

When the council poisoned the orchids they also poisoned the grass on the verge around the reserve. Magpies and pink & grey cockatoos regularly feed on the verge and since the spraying there has been 2 dead pink & greys and 3 dead magpies in the area. They presumably died due to poisoning after foraging on the herbicide contaminated grass and ground.

Last year when the council and fire department were about to burn the Linville Reserve, I had a discussion with the guy in charge of the fire department. He told me straight out there were no orchids on the reserve and I didn’t know what I was talking about. I have been studying native orchids for over 20 years but apparently I don’t know what I’m talking about. I told him he was standing on orchids as we speak and he should Google Caladenia on his phone. He told me to get stuffed.

Last year I contacted the EPA (environmental protection agency) about the orchids and grass plants being burnt and they responded by saying the council can do whatever it likes as long as it doesn’t kill any plants. After the burn I contacted the EPA again and informed them about the orchids and grass plants that were killed and they didn’t care. This year I also contacted the EPA and got the same sort of pathetic response.
What’s the point of having an environmental protection agency if they don’t care about the environment?
The EPA has allowed the Mandurah council and the Mandurah fire department to kill thousands of native plants, including some that are potentially endangered.

The mayor of Mandurah council, Rhys Williams, was informed of this last year and initially seemed concerned but follow up correspondence have either not been answered, or were answered with the following response, “The matter is of an operational procedure and has been passed along to the relevant department”. In other words he doesn’t care.

The Mandurah council and fire department were informed that the best time to burn the local bush is in autumn when baby birds and animals have grown up and can escape the fire, and when the plants have finished flowering and produced seed. The spring flowering plants would be dormant underground and would be unaffected by the fire.

Myra Giardini told me the council didn’t want to burn the bush in autumn because the person in charge of the fire department said the weather wasn’t good to burn at that time of year. In April 2019 (autumn), the Mandurah fire department did a controlled burn on a huge area of bushland that was only a few kilometres away from Linville Reserve. They burnt the bush for 2 weeks straight and blanketed the town and surrounding areas in smoke. If they can burn hundreds of hectares of bushland in autumn, why can’t they burn the Linville Reserve in autumn?

If they burnt the reserve in autumn, the plants would be dormant and in drought mode and prepared for fire. Plants that grow and flower in winter and spring would not be affected at all. And species would not be going extinct because of stupid ideas about burning the bush in spring to prevent summer fires.

If the bush is burnt in autumn, there is no leaf litter left on the ground for bush fires during the next few years.
Everyone should congratulate the state government, the EPA, Mandurah council and Mandurah fire department for causing the death of thousands of native plants and potentially making several species extinct.

The WA government is stupid for allowing this moronic idea to continue for as long as it has. The Gouldian finch was put on the endangered species list years ago and it is endangered because of stupid fire management practices in the north. Native orchids and other flora and fauna are on the endangered species list because of habitat destruction and this is a clear case of how they are being destroyed.

For anybody who wonders why species are becoming extinct, this is why. Governments burning the bush in spring when the native flora and fauna are trying to reproduce.

Burning the bush in spring is stupid and needs to stop.
 
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Colin_T

Colin_T

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Yes, they burn the bush every few years so there is no leaf litter to burn in summer.

The problem is they do it at the wrong time of year and they do it to frequently. There is heaps of scientific evidence that says the bush should not be burnt more than once every 7 years because the native plants need time to mature before they can produce seed. The fires also kill native animals and they require time to rebuild numbers.

When they burn every couple of years and they burn in spring, it's a double whammy to the native plants and animals because they just keep getting killed and can't repopulate.
 
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Colin_T

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Yes, autumn (fall) is the best time around here because the native plants go dormant or into survival/ drought mode over summer and autumn. The plants that go dormant usually have bulbs underground and the bulbs are unaffected by fires. The trees and plants above ground shed some leaves (not all of them) and reduce their water use, and they are ready for fires at that time of year.

In autumn, the baby birds have all grown up and are able to fly away at that time of year. Instead of being burnt to death in their nests when they burn off now in spring.

In autumn, the baby animals and reptiles have grown a bit and are usually able to run or slither away from fires. If they burn in spring, the baby animals are still tiny and feeding off their mother and can't get away from anything.
 

Silencedogood

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That's really too bad.:( Hopefully they will soon see that it's better to do it in the fall.
 
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Colin_T

Colin_T

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I doubt it. The governments all over the country have been doing it this way for over 50 years. They are so (*&^ing stupid.
 

Deanasue

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Do you have PITA or other animal protection services there?
 

nic1

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PETA won't do anything..... Such a shame.
 

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This is exactly why I hate all politicians with every fiber of my being. The one constant in the universe is the blind stupidity of politicians coupled with arrogance. Colin, Australia does not have a monopoly on morons holding political power. No, I take that back as it is insulting to morons. These clowns have no knowledge of the things they do. They do these things at the bidding of their corporate and monied masters. Money is at the root of everything evil and politicians water that root of evil. May every tooth in their head fall out but one and in that one may they have a toothache.
 
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Colin_T

Colin_T

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I doubt any of the neighbours care and it's not just in my town. This happens all over the country and most people don't care because they don't go into the bush to see what is there.

There are land care groups here (private not for profit organisations) that try to repair the bush and keep weeds out but even most of them are quite happy to burn in spring. About the only people who complain about spring burn offs are the zoos and people (volunteers) who care for injured native animals that have been torched. And the governments consider them nutters, just like they consider me nuts.
 

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