Friday, October 30, 2009

Earthworks at Ella Bay

I had some concerned people contact me and ask about construction work at Ella Bay so I thought I had best blog about it and clarify the situation!

As many of you know I had a few photos of earthworks at Ella Bay within my story ‘Pig Hunters coming from Satori’s property into Ella Bay National Park?’. There was lots of activity and machinery at work as per the photos below

Some people were concerned that the proponent’s development proposal had received approval and the answer is of course no.

What the activity was all about was sediment control earthworks to try to reduce the flow of topsoil and silt that are washed from the disturbed areas of the property into the creeks and the ocean. Unfortunately this is what happens in the high rainfall Wet Tropics region when property developers like Satori resorts/Ella Bay Pty Ltd clear away the protecting rainforest.

How do I know it was erosion control work?

Well ‘Daniel’ who seemed very concerned at the sight of someone with a camera came leaping through the bush like a herd of startled gazelles to do the handshaking thing and let me know the story. Here’s a pic of Daniel running through the bush! Sorry the pic is blurry but I didn’t have my camera set on ‘concerned sprinting contractor mode’!
Yesterday (a week later) I was back at Ella Bay and saw the earthworks after some rainfall with the red earth exposed to the elements.
I also got to see the silt/runoff collecting in pools
Unfortunately I also got to see where the runoff/silt had apparently bypassed/overflowed the traps and crossed the Ella Bay road on its journey to the ocean which was disappointing.
Thank goodness it wasn’t heavy rainfall as things could have been much worse.

I have to ask myself how stupid is it to conduct work of this nature weeks before the beginning of the wet season?

One of the primary rules regarding erosion control in the Wet Tropics is to minimize soil disturbance prior to the wet season. The proponent has had over 6 months to conduct this work during the dry season. During that 6 month window re-vegetation work and stabilization of earth banks with native grasses could have minimized soil loss via erosion during the imminent wet season.

The ocean at Ella Bay and the waters of The Great Barrier Reef certainly don’t need the life choking silt from the proponent’s property. I sincerely hope this is not an indicator of things to come.

Cheers Russ

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