Rima Itani, Water Corporation
What a herculean effort the symposium of October 21st was. As an audience member the passion of the speakers shone through on a broad range of topics; I wouldn’t want to be a Phytophthora spore in Peter Scott’s line of sight for instance.
For Water Corporation, it was the perfect time to listen to the knowledge presented and reflect on the current findings of the Wungong Catchment Trial. The intellectual discussion that took place around the Trial clearly solidified our common value for the future of the northern jarrah forest. I thought this would be a good medium to reaffirm the purpose of the Trial and what determines its continuation. It may appease many questions out there and invoke curiosity to investigate the science behind it.
The progress and continuation of the Trial is based on the overall water and environmental benefits achieved. The data collected so far has encouraged Water Corporation to continue. It is just one part of our multi-faceted supply and demand strategy to achieve climate resilience for the Integrated Water Supply Scheme. The Trial has helped us understand ways ground water levels can be restored by managing the forest back to its original water-efficient structure. By favouring large trees, about 30 to 50 trees per hectare are retained which promotes an old-growth structure close to the one that used to exist. The Department of Environment and Conservation’s silviculture guidelines is the framework in which this is done to ensure overall forest health is maintained or exceeded. Over 12 years since 2005, this treatment will cover 2800 ha out of the 12,485 ha that is the Wungong Catchment.
Progress is reviewed through 18 Key Performance Indicators that are weighed up. This ranges from biodiversity studies for flora, fauna and aquatic fauna, nutrient and forest health monitoring as well as stream flow and hydrological data. The objective of the Trial is to determine how water yields from catchments can be increased whilst maintaining a sustainable forest environment.
Findings can be found at www.watercorporation.com.au/wungong
You can also subscribe to Wungong Whispers for regular updates on the Trial.