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Monday, 31 August 2015 23:27

What Plastic is doing to Marine Life

The impact on marine life from plastic may be most obvious in coastal regions, but in August CSIRO released the results of the first analysis of the threat posed by plastic pollution to pelagic bird species worldwide. The report is published by the National Academy of Sciences of the US.

Allan Dale Professor in Tropical Regional Development, The Cairns Institute James Cook Universiity. Originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

The Australian Government is reviewing the tax deductibility status of donations to environment organisations and is in the process of handing over to the states most powers for decision making in matters of national environmental significance under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

Monday, 31 August 2015 23:27

It's like Shazam for Plants

Ever heard of Shazam? It’s an app that tells you the name of that song you just can’t remember. Well now there’s promise of an app to identify plants.

Monday, 31 August 2015 23:27

Restoration of an Environmental Jewel

This article has been written by Frances O’Brien, Group Administrator at Wahroonga Waterways Landcare. The site is part of SAN Wahroonga Estate redevelopment that was approved in 2010 after three years of consultation.

A new high quality walking map of the Berowra Valley has been published by Friends of Berowra Valley.

The Sydney Institute of Marine Science, located in a historic sandstone quarry on the Chowder Bay foreshore, has opened a new Discovery Centre.

Ku-ring-gai Council has received considerable flak over a decision to close an unauthorised mountain bike track down a steep hill below the tennis courts near Warrimoo Oval, St Ives.

Issue 178 (p2) of STEP Matters outlined the content of a preliminary draft plan of management for the Canoon Road netball complex in South Turramurra. Night lighting is now on the agenda.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015 23:41

St Ives Showground and Precinct Lands

In early 2015, Ku-ring-gai Council invited submissions on a draft plan of management for St Ives Showground and Precinct Lands. On 26 May 2015 the plan was adopted.

One area of concern to STEP was the Mini Wheels Training Club's use of a site containing an endangered Duffy's Forest ecological community. A consultant's report concluded that the club's use of the site could not be managed sustainably and was also damaging the coastal upland swamp down the slope below the site.

Council resolved not to renew their lease (due to expire in March 2016) and to prepare a report on biodiversity offset funding options to rehabilitate the site.

Freedom of Information (FOI) requests made by the Stop the Chop alliance have revealed that the NSW Government ignored expert advice when deciding to enact the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code of Practice. What were they thinking? Their attempt to make easy political capital out of the Blue Mountains bushfires in September 2013 has backfired. This misguided legislation is causing irreparable damage from the cutting down of thousands of trees for reasons other than bushfire protection.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015 23:41

Tour of Biobanking Site in Hornsby

This information came from an article written by Margery Street for Blandfordia, the newsletter of the North Shore Group of the Australian Plants Society.

The efficacy of offsets depends on a strict set of rules and long-term consistency of application. The first article ponders whether offsetting will cost our natural heritage (koalas or coal, nature or one-off profits, short-term gain or things of wonder for our grandkids) whilst the second article provides an overview of the desirable guidelines for the creation and operation of offsets.

Under the United Nation's climate change agreement Australia’s current greenhouse gas emissions reduction task is to reduce its emissions by 5% below 2000 levels by 2020.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Participants in Clean Up Australia Day once again noticed the massive extent of littering and rubbish dumping from vehicles. The Comenarra Parkway is a prime example.

Wednesday, 01 April 2015 00:01

Wrap-up of NSW State Election

The NSW Government election demonstrated the high level of concern about coal mining and coal seam gas. Several seats affected by mining and coal seam gas had strong swings away from the Liberals and National Party. Ballina, Wyong and Campbelltown were lost to the Greens or Labor.

The residents of Malton Road and the Beecroft Cheltenham Civic Trust have been working for many months to try and save some 2 hectares of privately owned land in Malton Road, Beecroft from subdivision and residential development.

Wednesday, 01 April 2015 00:01

A Memorial for Neroli Lock

Several past and present members of the STEP committee were delighted to be invited to a function at Ingleside on 19 April 2015 to celebrate the unveiling of a memorial to the life of Neroli Lock (see STEP Matters 178, p7).

This article was written by former president of STEP, Barry Tomkinson, who has had a close involvement with the Berowra Valley National Park proposals.

Wednesday, 01 April 2015 00:01

Russell Valley Colliery Expansion Thwarted

Previous issues of STEP Matters (Issue 173, p7–8 and Issue 175, p2) have highlighted the damage that is occurring in Sydney’s southern water supply catchment in the Woronora area caused by underground longwall coal mining. Cracking of the surface has drained upland swamps and creeks that are the filter system and source of water flowing into the Cataract and Woronora dams.

The release of the 2015 Intergenerational Report (IGR) by the Treasurer Joe Hockey brings nothing new to raise hopes that the government is realistically managing the long-term future of our country. It is very odd that one of the major variables in the report’s forecasts is presented with no discussion or justification. This is the expected level for annual net overseas migration (NOM).

Wednesday, 01 April 2015 00:01

The Noisy Miner: A Friend not a Pest?

STEP member Ralph Pridmore describes his personal experiences with his local feathered friends.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Saturday, 31 January 2015 23:01

NSW State Election

The NSW state election is not far away and we have only just found out who the Liberal Party candidate will be to replace Barry O’Farrell in Ku-ring-gai. A set of questions will be sent to local candidates by Friends of Ku-ring-gai Environment (FOKE). The responses will be emailed to members.

Just before Christmas, NSW Premier, Mike Baird, and the Environment Minister, Rob Stokes, announced that the Government favoured the introduction of state-based container deposit legislation (CDL). They seem to favour the current proposal developed by the Boomerang Alliance. This involves the installation of reverse vending machines in shopping centres and public places where people can return drink containers and retrieve the 10 cent deposit included in the purchase price. Council kerbside recycling collections would continue to operate.

Saturday, 31 January 2015 23:01

Interim Changes to 10/50 Code not Enough

Local environment groups have been calling for a moratorium on bushfire clearing under the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code while the public inquiry is held to no avail. On 26 November 2014 the Rural Fire Service announced changes to the rules that reduced the clearing entitlement area in most areas from 350 m to 100 m from bushfire prone land (see STEP Matters, Issue 178, p6 for more information).

The reasons for concern about the loss of old trees under the 10/50 Code are demonstrated by research.

Saturday, 31 January 2015 23:01

A Threatening Species: The Noisy Miner

Residents of Sydney's suburbs cannot help but notice the abundance of the native honeyeater, the noisy miner (Manorina melanocephala) in their gardens and their aggressive defence of their territory against other birds of all sizes and almost anything else (eg bats, cats, koalas and cows). One wonders if they can cause damage to the ecological balance of areas where they dominate.

Jim Wells, former STEP treasurer, has contributed this detailed information comparing the finances of Hornsby and Ku-ring-gai councils. We leave you to decide the implications this will have for residents if the councils merge.

Saturday, 31 January 2015 23:01

Section 94 Developer Contributions

Much of Ku-ring-gai’s money has come from apartment building construction. Contributions appear to be about $30,000 per unit with most going to local roads and drainage, although this varies by suburb.

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