The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has extended a Stop Work Order for Compartment 34A in Flat Rock State Forest near Ulladulla that prevents harvesting by Forestry Corporation of NSW (FCNSW).
The Stop Work Order has been extended as the EPA considers FCNSW measures to search for and identify protected species and their habitat have not been conducted in a competent manner.
This follows a report by FCNSW to the EPA that their drone survey did not find any endangered Southern Greater Gliders, however an EPA drone survey undertaken since the first Stop Work Order was issued found four endangered Southern Greater Gliders in the unharvested part of Compartment 34A.
The EPA’s drone survey found a total of 10 endangered Southern Greater Gliders and 55 other smaller Gliders, including feather-tailed gliders and sugar gliders, in and around the compartment that was being harvested.
The Flat Rock Stop Work Order was first issued on 14 November 2023 after an EPA inspection identified an endangered Southern Greater Glider den tree within 30 metres of active logging. The EPA understands that no den trees were identified by FCNSW prior to logging commencing.
The density of Gliders found during the EPA survey suggests further den trees may be present. To date no additional den trees have been located, however further EPA surveys are planned in January 2024.
Southern Greater Gliders rely on den trees and the surrounding habitat for shelter, feeding and movement. Once den trees are identified they are required to be protected with a 50 metre exclusion zone around them.
Under the Coastal Integrated Forestry Operations Approval, FCNSW is required to plan, implement and conduct forestry operations in a competent manner. The EPA is continuing to work with FCNSW regarding their survey methodology.
The EPA’s investigation is ongoing.
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