OPINION: Hearnes Lake dying for action

DEAR News of the Area,

SANDY Beach has been my home for the past 34 years.

During this period, I have witnessed the environmental demise of our rural area to the west of the highway.

The valleys to their ridge tops have been subjected to uncontrolled vegetation clearing, hillsides ripped apart with no regard to runoff and sediment control, ugly white netting and igloos covering huge areas of land along with the uncontrolled use of toxic pesticides and fertilizers.

Recently, the EPA linked fish kills in Hearnes Lake to the on-farm use of toxic pesticides such as chlorpyrifos.

Then a study of Hearnes Lake carried out by the Southern Cross University found levels of nitrogen 100 times the national guideline and a 40-fold increase in phosphorus in lake sediments since 2002.

Now we have Maxine Rowley’s Hearnes Lake pesticides study confirming the presence of numerous toxic chemicals in rainfall runoff, coming from surrounding farmland, into catchment waterways flowing directly into Hearnes Lake, part of our Solitary Islands Marine Park (SIMP).

To add to the woes of Hearnes a recent dieback event devastated shoreline vegetation including salt marsh and mangroves, was caused by the many dams in the catchment reducing normal cleansing flows into the lake.

The NSW Department of Primary Industry (DPI) has control over fishing (which includes marine parks), agriculture and biosecurity and food safety to name a few.

Why hasn’t the DPI taken action to stop toxic pesticides and nutrients escaping from this industrial scale agriculture and polluting the waterways flowing into our marine park?

Does the DPI believe its duty of care stops at the farm gate?

Is the DPI suffering conflicts of control?

Does the DPI know what sustainable agriculture is?

Farming of crops, that require huge amounts of toxic chemicals and fertilizer to be profitable, to the detriment of our waterways and our own personal health, is unsustainable!

Who’s in charge?

It’s about time something was done to start protecting our environment & reverse this toxic madness!

Hearnes Lake (and its shoreline) is or should be a safe home to a plethora of native fauna and flora.

The lake should be a healthy breeding ground for various species of fish, prawns, birds and macroinvertebrates.

Hearnes Lake should be a safe place for locals and visitors to indulge in recreational activities such as canoeing, fishing and swimming.

Hearnes Lake is not dead, but it nearly is! Hearnes Lake and our waterways are dying for action!

Sandy Beach.

One thought on “OPINION: Hearnes Lake dying for action

Leave a Reply