The photos on the right are of the destruction of a large part of the remnant native vegetation on both sides of Huddleston Road where it goes up Cemetery Hill on the outskirts of Crystal Brook. The section of road involved was just over a kilometre in length.
Mid North South Australia, where this irresponsible carnage took place, is probably the most over-cleared region of South Australia. Huddleston Road is one of the few places near Crystal Brook where a fair amount of remnant native vegetation has been retained – until now. This work has probably removed half of what was on this section of the road.
As can be seen in the photos, the section of road concerned is straight, so there was no need to remove the vegetation to improve visibility for traffic.
A little of the vegetation had grown out to near the road shoulders as can be seen in a photo I took before the clearing, but it has been destroyed to a distance of four or five metres from the road edge; quite excessive, unnecessary and in contravention of Pirie Council's own Roadside Vegetation Management Plan.
Genetic biodiversity is a valuable resource. Remnant native vegetation on roadsides provides valuable habitat for native birds and animals, many of which are endangered in Australia. Councils and other local authorities should be conserving remnant vegetation, not destroying it.
This roadside is within the district of the Pirie Regional Council. On the day I saw this damage (28th June) I emailed Council asking for comment. I emailed them again after writing this page, 29th June. I had received no reply by July 7th when I emailed them again and finally received an unsatisfactory reply the next day.
(There are power lines on the side of the road where the photos were taken. The vegetation on the other side of the road was cut back in a similar way. It is not unusual for native vegetation to be cut back to about half the height of the power lines, but not to be completely demolished for the sake of the power lines. This destruction was not related to the power lines.)
A letter I wrote on the matter was published in the Balaklava Plains Producer newspaper on July 6th.
I have emailed one of the Pirie Regional Councillors who lives in Crystal Brook (about 2016/07/03) and I emailed Mayor John Rohde (2016/07/10).
On 2016/07/09 I informed the local member of Parliament, Geoff Brock.
As of 2016/07/20 I have not had any response from Mayor Rohde nor any satisfactory response from Council following my informing them of their breach of their own guidelines.
In recent years I have been cleaning up roadside rubbish around Crystal Brook and have walked and picked up rubbish from sections of Huddleston Road on at least 13 occasions. I am very familiar with the road.
"Dear Mr ClarkeThe emphasis above is mine.
Ms Johnson ignored my main point; that the cutting back of the remnant vegetation was grossly excessive. In this she seems to either be unaware of, or to be ignoring, Pirie Council's own Roadside Vegetation Management Plan. She also seemed to be under the false impression that my main concern was with aesthetics rather than loss of remnant native vegetation, loss of habitat, and loss of biodiversity.
Having lived in the area for nearly forty years I do not recall ever before seeing such blatant and unjustified destruction of native vegetation so far from the roadside in work done by council. This sort of thing is not 'common practice'; if it was there would be much less remnant vegetation even than there is. This must never become 'common practice'!
As stated above, the section of road involved is straight; this can be seen in the photos. I use it often. I have collected rubbish from Huddleston Road at least 13 times in the last three years. Contrary to the claim by Ms Johnson, there was no problem with "sight distance" as can be seen in the photo taken in December 2014, below. The vegetation probably was a little too close to the road in a few places and could have been trimmed back a little, but destruction of half was not justified.
Guidelines on clearing native vegetation in SA; Dept. Environment, Water and Natural Resources.
A Biological Survey of the Mid North and Yorke Peninsula, South Australia; shows the importance of roadsides as a refuge for biodiversity and endangered species; it contains 24 references to roadsides.
Little left to lose: deforestation and forest degradation in Australia since European colonization by Corey J. A. Bradshaw; Oxford Journals: Journal of Plant Ecology.Roadside Vegetation Management Plan; states:
Perhaps few of the people in the region care. Maybe they will care when it is too late to do anything about the loss.
My wife and I care. Do you care?
On this site...Revegetating Crystal Brook's Central Park
Why I support the local wind farm (the proposed Crystal Brook Energy Park)
Cleaning up roadsides
Mid North SA, leader in renewable energy
Progressive Pt Pirie?
CB Central Park
Gleeson Wetlands, Clare
ExternalFacebook Protect Native Veg