Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Mega Sand Quarry Will Rip the Lungs out of North Creek

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Mega Sand Quarry Will Rip the Lungs out of North Creek

Article excerpt

Byline: SNAGGED with Barry Cooder

NOTHING like ripping the lungs out of North Creek to improve the fishing around Ballina, but that's pretty much what the proposed mega sand quarry at Newrybar will do it it goes ahead.

Sadly, many people still don't get it that wetlands, marsh grasses, bankside trees, mangroves and seagrass act as sediment traps, bank stabilisers, water filters, pH buffers, food larders and fish nurseries.

That's as well as being some of the best carbon traps on the planet.

The plan is to extract 3.6 million tonnes of sand over 30 years and leave a gaping hole to be filled with water.

That's after 30 years of acid sulfate soil disturbance and periodic blackwater events that are sure to spread the toxic love all the way down to Ballina, regardless of control measures likely to be implemented voluntarily or by a reluctant State Government.

Not too long ago, North Creek used to be the refuge for Richmond fish whenever there was a bad flood. Fish used to move in when the main river became loaded with sediment or water was otherwise compromised.

These days, it's usually the first waterway to murk up after rain. Seagrass is dying out because it can't get enough sunlight and there are periodic slugs of blackwater and acid runoff due to mismanaged or poorly maintained drains.

Even anglers who can't bring themselves to believe carbon dioxide is a global problem can grasp the basic concept of the worth of food chains and ecology systems, and maybe even the economic worth of leaving something the hell alone.

Gone Fishing grants

THE fourth annual NSW Gone Fishing Day will be held on October 14, and fishing clubs and organisations are encouraged to apply for grants to host fishing activities.

DPI Fisheries community programs co-ordinator Dee Payne said applications for the grants would close on July 16. …

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