Just some more examples of the damage fossicking and prospecting can cause in our national parks. Not the sort of damage we want to see in our national parks. Fossicking (metal detecting, digging holes and panning for gold) causes unnecessary damage to streamsides, and can threaten rare species such as ground orchids. Our national parks are set aside to protect our natural areas for future generations. They are there for passive recreation, not exploitation. Many of the rivers that flow through these parks are already listed as Heritage Rivers, and Natural Catchments. These additional levels of protection should be respected. Fossicking is already allowed in a number of Box-Ironbark parks in central Victoria. But there has been no monitoring of their impacts as required by park management plans. Fossicking and panning damages streamsides, causes erosion, and silts up rivers. In old gold-bearing streams, already worked over many years ago, heavy metals and other pollutants can be released into streams when soil is disturbed. Tools used in prospecting and fossicking can spread harmful soil pathogens like Phytophthora. Fossicking and gold panning can damage the many important Aboriginal cultural heritage sites in the region. While prospectors insist they behave responsibly, many dont. The parks in the investigation area are in relatively remote areas, and fossickers activities will be difficult if not impossible to supervise or monitor. Managing prospectors and fossicking will take park rangers away from other essential activities, at a time when staff numbers are already well below whats needed for park management. Many rivers, streams and catchments are important for rural, regional and city water supplies. We should be aiming to improve their condition, not compromise it. There is already plenty of opportunity to fossick for gold in the extensive State Forest areas in eastern Victoria, outside national parks. Prospecting is poorly regulated now, and causes considerable damage to many streams and waterways. There should be no expansion of prospecting into national parks. Instead, it should be effectively regulated where it already exists in Victoria.
Posted on: Mon, 02 Jun 2014 02:51:35 +0000
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