During 2004, there has been a lack of progression regarding karst management and conservation of karst issues in WA. As discussed in the 2003 report, three of the key karst areas have expired management plans (expired from between 5-7 years!!). Over the past 12 month period, despite several consultation meetings with CALM regarding these areas, there is still no draft management plans released for any of those areas.

Additionally, the most unfortunate situation occurred when the WA Government made decisions regarding one of WA’s most significant karst areas, without consulting speleologists who had the most up-to-date information on the area. There was an opportunity for the Government to negotiate on pastoral leases, particularly areas of land on the Nullarbor. This missed opportunity has meant that recent decisions (made by the WA Government) regarding the Nullarbor have been made on information that is about 20 years old! It is really important that the Government acknowledges that management of karst areas required specialist knowledge. As such, the Government should be "seeking" consultation from speleologists (such as members of the ASF and ACKMA) whenever there are major decisions being made regarding karst areas. This should be seen as a priority and as part of the important public consultation process. However, in some situations this speleological consultation may need to occur outside of the formal consultation processes (for example occurring before a draft document is released for public comment). The challenge is still for both speleologists and land managers to work together in partnership – to ensure that our karst areas in this state are managed appropriately.

One positive outcome that has occurred this year is that the WA Speleological Groups have made contact with the Natural Resource Management (NRM) group for the Nullarbor. It is hoped that this will raise the profile of the importance of the Nullarbor karst and the lack of information that exists on the natural resources in this area. It is also aimed that the development of the NRM plan for the Nullarbor/Rangelands region will assist in obtaining funding that is allocated to the important research required in this karst area.

One of the reasons for the lack of action on the land management plans, by the WA Government, has been the Government’s commitment to the process of nominating Cape Range for World Heritage Listing. This priority has meant that other areas needing management attention have been put "on hold". At the time of writing the draft of this report, the Minister for the Environment had passed the recommendation to Cabinet for their approval. The WA Government was working towards a timeline of submitting the final reports in February 2005. The ASF hoped that this nomination would be successful as the Cape Range is a truly outstanding karst area that deserves World Heritage status. However, in early December, a press release indicated that due to political issues around the Ningaloo Reef Marine Park, the Government needed more community consultation. Thus the nomination was not put through. The ASF, and local speleological groups expect to be formally contacted and included in this additional consultation process.

The WA speleological groups have continued participation in community education displays. In particular, the year of 2004 has seen a major achievement. As presented to the January 2004 Council meeting, there was an important initiative in WA. The joint karst workshop with Greening Australia (WA) and the A.S.F. occurred in September 2004. This initiative was an excellent partnership and shows the opportunity for future partnerships between organizations with similar environmental objectives. The partners for this workshop are already planning a second workshop to occur in 2005.

Finally, the conservation issues reported on previously regarding the vulnerability of the karst area (due to human development) to the north of Perth still exist. Additionally, the Government is STILL to make a decision regarding the ASF’s legal action and the proposed mining leases at Cape Range. There have also been several ongoing projects involving ASF volunteers in Yanchep and Leeuwin karst areas (see each section for this report). For the future, there are plans to continue involvement in public education, through community displays, participation in community events and presentations.

We support the motion, proposed by Yvonne Ingeme (VSA), that "the ASF support an application for a grant to cover production and publication of a booklet on "Living on Karst in Australia". This is a project that we’ve been discussing for some time, so it’s excellent to see another state seeing a similar need. More specifically, we’d like to have a brochure for local landowners. As such, we propose "That the ASF support an application for a grant to cover production and publication of a A4brochure on "Living on Karst in WA" and a series of applications for funding assistance to support "a series of seminars and presentations to the general public regarding karst and living on karst issues". It would be excellent if the ASF could support both of these initiatives.

Jay Anderson Peter Armstrong Eve Taylor

 

More specific Details regarding each WA karst area is outlined below:

1. South of Perth:

1A Cave Management in the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park (L.N.N.P.)

There has been no further progress of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park Management plan, dated

1989-1999. CALM advise that this is "progressing", but no date is given for the release of a draft. As discussed in the 2003 report, CALM had planned several prescribed burns for the karst area, within the National Park. Several of these occurred and may further assist water into the epikarst.

The Cave Management Advisory Committee (C.M.A.C.) continues to meet bi-monthly to advise The Department on cave management issues. This process is working really well and various projects have been carried out with speleological members during the past year. These include: Work at Bride Cave (2/2004) to remove old wooden stairways and ongoing work on trackmarking and rehabilitation in several caves. There have been several CMAC field trips to assess caves – either for impacts, to upgrade trackmarking or to assess the potential for a cave classification change. The speleological use of locked and restricted access caves in 2004 has remained at a low level.

1B Wallcliffe Cave – Shire of Augusta/Margaret River

The Shire of Augusta Margaret River has still not implemented the draft cave management plan for Wallcliffe cave. It is understood that the Shire is progressing the alteration in land tenure and the plans to vest the land in C.A.L.M is proceeding, but it will take some time. The cave itself requires a lot of rehabilitation and would be a challenge for a future project. The cave still receives visitation and it now has a new gate.

1C Karst in the Mandurah Region

There is no management of the karst system adjacent to the Dawesville Estuary. The caves in this area are either on private property or in areas of bushland. A number of speleological members visited the area during the year and undertook a "clean-up" day – removing rubbish from a cave. Further work needs to be undertaken in this area, including public education and liaison with managing agencies.

The WASG was recently contacted by a construction company and requested speleological expertise to search for karst features in an area where a major road diversion is planned. A team of four speleologists walked the 4km road reserve and found one blocked solution pipe and one doline (significant with several cave entrances). It is understood that neither of these features is impacted by the proposed road works. Due to contacts made during this project it is hoped that there will be further liaison from construction companies when undertaking works in karst areas.

2. To the East:

The Nullarbor is an area that desperately needs appropriate management. It is a large, significant karst area, where visitation impacts on the karst system are difficult to assess. As there is no "on- ground" management of the caves and karst, there is no monitoring of impacts or conditions. During

2004, the WASG corresponded with CALM and met with several key CALM representatives. It was proposed that there needed to be a consultative karst workshop involving Government and speleologists, to determine some management prescriptions for the area. This is yet to occur.

The Government has negotiated with pastoralists regarding proposed exclusions of land for heritage, environmental, recreational or tourist purposes. The outcome was that there are now several "reserves" around cave entrances. It is unfortunate however, that the WA Government made decisions regarding this significant karst area, without the most up-to-date information on the area. The lack of consultation with speleologists has meant that recent decisions regarding the Nullarbor have been made on information that is certainly not recent. The caves that CALM thought were significant, are not as significant as other caves that have been discovered since the 1980’s. The other issue of concern is the situation where a small amount of land around a cave entrance is "Reserved". Firstly this puts the entrance of a cave clearly marked on maps, or in the surface – the visitor need only look for the "fence". Additionally, this technique does not consider the significant karst system as a whole, nor its catchment. The WA Government needs to support the IUCN Guidelines for karst management, which highlight the importance of what is referred to as a "total catchment regime". The Nullarbor requires an integrated management approach, such as integrated catchment management.

The WA Speleological Groups have made contact with the Natural Resource Management (NRM) group for the Nullarbor and it is hoped that this will raise the profile of the importance of the Nullarbor karst and the lack of information that exists on the natural resources in this area. This situation could be remedied if there was funding allocated to the important research in this karst area. The WA Speleological Groups were notified in mid November, of a 2-day workshop being held in Kalgoorlie in late November. This workshop was supported by CALM and involved the NRM group. This group is involved in the development and compilation of the NRM strategy plan for the WA Rangelands (including the south Nullarbor Region). It is understood that the Federal Government expects this to be completed in the next 6-as months. A WA member attended the workshop to represent the ASF. We await the representative’s report and an update on how the ASF and local WA based speleological groups can be involved in this process.

2A South Coast Management Plan

This Regional management plan is dated 1992-2002. There has been no further progress on this.

2B Nullarbor World Heritage Listing

As reported in previous reports, this task is ongoing. There has been no progress on this issue. There will need to be some effort made in recommending the World Heritage Listing for the Nullarbor and contact between both the W.A. state government and the S.A. state government regarding this issue. As discussed at the 2004 ASF Council Meeting, the ASF is concerned with the management of this area. This will need considerable work to research what occurred in the previous nomination and to collate information regarding recent karst documentation by numerous speleological groups. This may be an important opportunity for ACKMA and ASF to partner together in raising the awareness f the Nullarbor and in discussing karst values with the Government.

3. North of Perth:

3A Yanchep National Park:

The Yanchep National Park Management plan is dated 1989-1999. As previously reported, the Park Management Plan is expired and needs considerable revising. There has been no further progress on this and CALM state that it is "on hold". The Yanchep National Park Caves Advisory Committee meets bi-monthly to discuss local karst issues. It is still recommended that this area needs a specific "cave manager" as a matter of priority. There have been several more caves gated in the National Park. These gates continue to be made out of inappropriate materials and inappropriate design. Additionally, the gates are not being developed according to accepted cave gate guidelines which need to allow fauna passage. The recommendations by a biologist who specialised in bats were ignored. This is of concern to the local speleological groups. Although, the Permit system is working well and there is little observable damage in the caves, there is a need for an integrated approach to management in the area. Finally, speleological group members continue to work very closely with C.A.L.M. staff: providing education about karst issues and assisting with local projects.

We are concerned regarding the situation for the cave fauna in the stream caves. Further to what was reported previously, the CALM, Water Corporation and Waters and Rivers Commission have been artificially maintaining water to certain areas in attempts to maintain the subterranean stygofauna habitats. The cave streams and root matt communities have been affected by the lowered water table in the area – a result of several factors (climate, pine trees on the eastern catchment and water abstraction) in the area. Three adaptive projects have occurred to date. The Government project to direct artificial supplementation to the cave stream in the Crystal Cave was considered successful. The Government allocated several million dollars to establishing a new bore in the area and to permanently artificially supplement the Crystal Cave Stream. It is our understanding that there is no longer any living stygofauna in this cave. It is still our opinion that the Government needs to hasten their plans to reduce the Pine Tree Plantations in the east. This should be a priority as the catchment to the east is significant to the karst hydrology.

Several other caves have significant fauna and root matt communities. At this stage, the water levels in these caves are being artificially supplemented and monitored. Several caves have plastic lined pools, artificial pumps and soak wells to facilitate an even water table level. Of particular concern is the situation where the National Park does not have a dedicated scientific officer to oversee or monitor the adaptive research that is occurring in the National Park. There is also a need for specific monitoring and implementation of plans. These issues need to be addressed by the WA Government as a matter of priority.

The main "works" that occurred this year was the sealing of the Crystal Cave carpark. The National Park did not understand speleologists concern about bitumising the area so close to the cave (a cave which is having significant hydrological issues). This large area of runoff is channelled away from the cave and reduces natural infiltration methods. Finally, and unfortunately, CALM did not obtain any further capital works funding in their budget. The plans to alter the lighting in Crystal Cave, to remove the lampenflora or to upgrade the infrastructure will not happen in the near future. All of this is of great concern and indicates a lack of awareness of broad karst management, and specifically regarding the management of this important karst area.

3B Carabooda Area:

It remains of great concern that there is a road planned to go straight over a number of significant caves. There has been no further progress on this issue and the task to address this issue is ongoing. Other tasks include the ongoing work of karst assessment – surveying the caves and an inventory of karst features. These issues need to continue to be highlighted with the State Agencies involved as the karst system remains under threat from human development. The threat to this karst area is significant and further action is required to protect this system. The significant site (containing fossil remains) may mean that the site could be listed on the National Heritage List as having "outstanding heritage value" or on the Commonwealth Heritage List as having "significant heritage value". If this occurred the site would be protected under the EPBC Act. This needs more time to progress than is currently available to those volunteers who are interested in progressing this issue. Additionally, it would be excellent to meet with local landowners to discuss karst management issues and to consider issues involved in "living on karst". Several landowners in the area have made contact with speleologists and indicated that some seminars, brochures and public education on karst would be useful. There is an opportunity to progress this important issue, however a source of funding would need to be sought (see the motion to be put to the ASF Council 2005).

3C Two Rocks & Wanneroo Area:

As discussed previously, the City of Wanneroo contains significant karst areas. The City has an Interim Rural Strategy that is soon due for review. This document has a small section on karst. Additionally, there needs to be a co-ordinated approach-involving liaison between the City of Wanneroo and Speleological Groups regarding areas under development in karst regions. Speleological groups need greater liaison with the Environmental Protection Authority, to ensure further caves and karst areas are not impacted. It would be excellent it ground-penetrating radar was more extensively utilised in karst areas. There is a huge task of acting to protect the karst areas as the current development and impact of Perth’s expanding population pressures on the karst.

Development subdivisions continue to occur. The plan is to have speleological individuals who are able to visit a property and make an assessment of the karst features present. The report can then be given both to the landowner and the local Government to assist in the best response required in the situation. It is our goal to have several landowner education sessions and workshops – discussing the area’s geological development, and what it means to "Live on karst". Ultimately it is planned to publish a landowners brochure/booklet outlining these issues in a manner that is educational and non confrontational (see the motion in the summary section). To assist in this education, and to provide a visual aspect to learning it is envisaged that a 3D karst model be developed – showing the physical interaction between the surface and the subsurface in karst – specifically in this area. This can then be used in education and displays.

There is now a speleological representative on the City of Wanneroo Environmental Advisory Committee. This is an important role and can assist in raising the profile of karst in the area. More specifically, the Local Environmental Strategy (Annual Review 2004) has just had its second review by the Council. The fifth Action item (out of 60 items) is to "develop a caves and karstic features policy". This item has had no action and is currently listed to occur in the 2005-2006 year. An excellent opportunity exists in regard to this issue. Both in raising the awareness of the Council, to the significant karst issues and to involve speleologists in developing this document.

3D Involvement with Government in Local Community Consultation:

Several members of Speleological Groups continue to regularly attend local community consultation groups to ensure that karst issues are considered and raised in ongoing decision-making regarding the northern groundwater mound that is a karst catchment area. The Gnangara/East Gnangara (Water Resources) Community Consultative Committee meets several times a year. This group discusses the artificial supplementation of wetlands in the karst area and the emergency response strategy regarding the cave streams and stygofauna in the Yanchep caves. The water situation in the area is still critical despite an average winter rainfall during 2004. The addition of aspeleological representative on the City of Wanneroo Environmental Advisory Committee is an excellent opportunity, which can assist in raising the profile of karst in the area.

3E East of Jurien - Drovers Cave National Park:

Drover’s Cave –Further discussions with CALM are needed regarding actions that will need to occur to implement the proposals. There are ongoing discussions with CALM regarding this issue and the need for both the land manager and the speleological groups to meet. This will need to be progressed in 2005.

3F South of Jurien - Coastal Area –Jurien/Cervantes:

The northward growth of Perth has the potential to impact on the coast and associated karst features. Concerns remain that management plans for this area do not appear to have considered the existence of caves or karst features. At this stage, a large amount of bushland has not been assessed for karst features. Further work needs to be done in this area.

Lancelin Defence Training Area – (L.D.T.A.)

There has been no further need for speleological involvement in this area. There is a speleological representative on the management committee for the L.D.T.A. However, due to the location and timing of meetings, volunteer speleologists have not been able to attend all meetings (every 2-3 months). Speleological groups remain involved and provide a consultative role where required. We have recently been notified that s stygofauna survey will occur within the area and have been asked to be involved in consultation in this process.

3G North of Jurien - Coastal Area:

Speleological Groups are undertaking a project in this area to reassess, and renew information on known karst features. This project requires visiting the karst features and obtaining accurate GPS information. Areas of bushland are also being searched for new karst features. This project involves close liaison with local landowners.

3H Cape Range

The Cape Range National Park Management plan is dated 1987-1997 and has been in the process of review. In July, representatives of the A.S.F. had a special consultative meeting to discuss issues related to the future management of the National Park. The draft management plan for Cape Range should be very close to release given the priority of the Government to the World Heritage nomination. CALM now advise that a draft many be out by March 2005.

Of ongoing concern however, is that the Advisory Committee for the North West Cape-Ningaloo does not have any individuals or representatives with karst background. This group is set up to advise CALM on the management of the Cape Range National Park and the Ningaloo Marine Park. It would be excellent if the Government acknowledged that it is important to have knowledge and experience in karst to be able to make appropriate decisions regarding such an area.

As noted in previous reports, the A.S.F. took legal action regarding proposed mining leases on the Cape Range. Although this was concluded in the Wardens Court in Perth (11/2000), the process has yet to be concluded. The Government (Minister for Mines) has STILL to make the final decision regarding the granting of the mining leases. The A.S.F. needs to continue to request the removal of the strategic limestone mining purpose from the proposed 5(h) reserve.

The Cape Range National Park should also be extended. The A.S.F. has continued to advocate that the Cape Range is a significant karst area that needs such protection and recognition. The formal process regarding the plans to nominate the Cape Range for World Heritage Status was almost completed. We are extremely concerned about the Government’s recent decision to delay the nomination. The delay is primarily in regard to the Ningaloo Reef management. It is understood that the Government wants a further 12 months of community consultation. This delay may seriously affect the timing of future nomination and the priority of acceptance of the Cape Range as a World Heritage Area.

3I The Kimberley – FAR north:

There are a number of discrete karst systems in the Kimberley Region (generally termed the West Kimberley or the East Kimberley) that no formal karst management. In the east, the primary land tenure is pastoral leases and station land. In the West, there are some areas of National parks, and other areas of pastoral lease and private land. All of these areas need appropriate karst management, in particular a "total catchment management" focus. There have been a number of expeditions to this area over the last 45 years, however further work is required to document the fauna and the karst.

It has recently come to our attention that there was a review of nature conservation reserves in the Kimberley in 1991. Humphrey’s (1995) outlines some of the recommendations that were made for the karst areas of the Kimberley, and referred to a submission made by the ASF in 1980. It is still considered that the caves and karst of the West Kimberley are of considerable international significance. It was considered that the area’s current land management regime does not adequately provide for the reservation and protection of important karst features, nor does it recognise outstanding opportunities to incorporate into existing reserves, features that would considerably enhance the value of those reserves. Point 1.8 of the ASF submission (Davey 1980) recommended that "there be a thorough integrated survey of all the cave and karst features of the Limestone Ranges of the West Kimberley and that such a survey should examine geomorphological and biological attributes as well as aboriginal relicts". It is understood that at that time, it was recommended that the WA Museum be requested to make a survey of the caves and springs for the limestone ranges. Humphrey’s (1995) outlined that this survey has never been conducted. It is our recommendation that the current status of the karst areas in the Kimberley needs progressing and that the National Heritage List may be an appropriate mechanism for recognising the "outstanding" values of the area.

4. Public Education:

As discussed earlier, it was our aim to continue important community events and to facilitate the partnership between the ASF and other environmental organisations. During the year of 2004, there were two Joint Speleological Groups "Community Education" Displays: Yanchep National Park’s "Spring Fest" on 14/11/04 and the "Children’s Groundwater Festival" on the 23/11/04. The "interactive" cave, and activities were quite popular with the children. Speleological Group members have again provided ongoing training to CALM staff (including cave guides) at Yanchep (special thanks again to the Wilderness Society and the Environmental Defender’s Office for the use of display boards). The final workshop was a special seminar on the EPBC Act (8/11/2004), presented by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF). As discussed at the ASF council meeting, the Joint Workshop titled "Subterranean safari – exploring the karst systems on the Swan Coastal Plain" was held on the 11/09/2004 (The Caves Australia 163 (September 2004) contains a full report on this workshop). This was an excellent partnership between the ASF and Greening Australia (WA). Due

to the success of this workshop, a 2nd workshop is already being planned for 2005.

5. Karst Policy and Protective Mechanisms:

There are a broad range of policy, legislation and guidelines that are required for karst areas. A review of WA policy instruments is currently being finalised (Anderson). A preliminary paper is being presented at the 25th Biennial Conference of the ASF – held in January 2005 that will outline some of the challenges and opportunities in this area. One particular State Government policy

document has been under review. In November 2003, the Speleological Groups were contacted in regard to key stakeholder consultation prior to its release for broader public consultation. The CALM Policy Statement 18 is regarding Recreation, Tourism and Visitor Services. Specific Sections of the policy that are of interest to ASF members include: rockclimbing and abseiling, caving and cave diving. After consultation with other ASF members, the two ASF corporate members (WASG and SRGWA) made individual submissions on issues contained in the document (January /February

2004). The official draft document was released on the 1 December 2004 for a two-month public comment period closing on 31 January 2005. The draft Policy can be accessed at www.calm.wa.gov.au. in the "Have Your Say" category. We encourage ASF members, particularly WA members, to be familiar with this document and to make an individual submission. You may also wish to send us a copy of your comments for inclusion in an official ASF submission.

6. Future Cave Management in W.A.:

We would like to continue to hold a series of pubic education seminars and community displays. We’d also like to focus on applications for funding and grants: such as the motion regarding the "living on karst" brochure, and a project by WASG in partnership with the Yanchep National Park, and other speleological groups in WA – to install karst interpretation in Boomerang Gorge. Another project is an initiative involving National Science Week funding. If successful, it is planned that WASG would hold a workshop, similar to that of the GAWA/ASF partnership, however it would be focussed on secondary students. The workshop aims include education about karst and numerous site visits, but also explores career opportunities within the science of speleology. It would be excellent if there were more projects, funding applications and some successful outcomes!

As mentioned in previous reports, W.A. has many karst areas and a huge variety of landowners and cave managers. The W.A. Government needs to accept that its responsibility for managing the environment involves protecting karst areas, and to show a commitment to appropriately resourcing areas that manage karst. The aim of the W.A. Conservation Commission is to raise the profile of speleologists and their involvement in karst management, and for promoting the need for a State Karst Officer.

Karst Officer.

The management and conservation of karst in W.A. has many challenges and opportunities. The achievements in W.A. have been a productive and positive effort by a small group of dedicated people. The WA Conservation Commission Co-convenors are supported by a small group of cavers who meet together on a monthly basis to discuss specific issues to do with karst management, cave conservation and associated issues. This group has been referred to as the “Conservation Committee” and actively works towards the conservation of caves/ karst and aims to present regular educational presentations on karst in W.A.. The group varies from 3 to 10 ASF members who have been meeting together since April 2001. The group has been involved in environmental events and activities in W.A. and seeks to involve other ASF members, outdoor leaders and the public in associated issues.

The committee has broadened its focus since the events we reported on last year (2002) – the first “ASF Speleo Seminar” (“Cavers caring for Caves”) and participation in two community education displays. The year of 2003 has seen the following achievements:

  • July 2003 – The 2nd “ASF Speleo Seminar” titled “Cave ecosystems, habitats and subterranean fauna” –An evening presentation.
  • September 2003 – The 3rd “ASF Speleo Seminar” titled “Subterranean Biodiversity & Threatened Fauna – specific examples from WA” – An afternoon presentation to co-incide with "Biodiversity month" and "Threatened species day".
  • Three Joint W.A. Speleological Groups “Community Education” Displays.
  • Ongoing Provision of training to CALM staff (primarily cave guides) at Yanchep National Park.
  • Public presentations to other groups.

Additionally, there has been continued involvement in karst management issues and consultation with State Government and land managers regarding karst issues. Three significant karst areas in WA currently have their management plans under review: Yanchep National Park, Cape Range National Park and the Leeuwin Naturaliste National Park. The ASF representatives met with a CALM representative on two separate occasions to discuss the current and future management of the Yanchep and Cape Range areas. There were ASF members who attended either a Perth based public forum or a Margaret River based public forum, to discuss the current and future management of the Leeuwin Naturaliste National Park (Margaret River area). Speleological Members continue to be involved in ongoing consultation regarding these issues. Each of these are outlined in more detail under the relevant karst area section in this report.

The conservation issues reported on previously regarding the karst area to the north of Perth still exist. Additionally, the Government is STILL to make a decision regarding the ASF’s legal action and the proposed mining leases at Cape Range (as supported by the E.D.O. and reported on previously). There have also been several projects involving ASF volunteers in Yanchep and Leeuwin karst areas (see each section for this report). In 2004 there are plans to continue involvement in public education, through community displays, participation in community events and presentations. In particular, there are plans for a joint karst workshop with Greening Australia (WA) and the A.S.F. This initiative is an excellent opportunity for future partnerships between organizations with similar environmental objectives and a report on this project will be presented to the January 2004 Council meeting.

Jay Anderson             Peter Armstrong                                Eve Taylor

1.      South of Perth:

A.            Cave Management in the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park (L.N.N.P.)

The Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park Management plan is dated 1989-1999. The C.A.L.M. are in the process of updating the management plan. In August 2003, representatives of the A.S.F. attended several public consultative meetings (Perth and Margaret River) to discuss issues related to the future management of the National Park. It is anticipated that a draft plan will be released in mid 2004.

The Cave Management Advisory Committee (C.M.A.C.) continues to meet bi-monthly to advise The Department on cave management issues. This process is working really well and various projects have been carried out with speleological members during the past year. These include: Work at Bride Cave (2/2003) to install retaining walls in the doline; and ongoing work on trackmarking and rehabilitation in several caves.

Some Grants had been obtained to assist with the monitoring of aquatic root mat communities. This was obtained by C.A.L.M. with funding from a "BankWest Landscope Conservation Visa Card Trust Fund Grant" and from C.A.L.M. funding via the Threatened Species and Communities Unit. Decreasing water levels are a threat to these subterranean communities. The water quality monitoring was just for a year, and is now complete. It was to provide a more complete set of baseline data. In some significant caves, water levels were measured monthly, and photographic monitoring and water analysis was taking place every three months. The current situation is that the trend towards decreasing water levels is continuing. It was planned that 3 prescribed burns would occur in various sections of the National Park during spring 2003. These were areas of forest in the karst system. At the time of writing (late November 2003), only two of the sections of the National Park had been burnt. The burn around Jewel Cave will help test the hypothesis that a reduction in fires is partially responsible for decreasing cave water levels.

There has been a significant decrease in the speleological use of locked and restricted access caves in 2003. This may be due to the effect of the ASF conference in the area in January 2003, where local speleological leaders organised and led trips for visiting speleologists. The speleological members also have access to several electronic measuring devices (“Disto”) that will be used in surveying and that can reduce impacts during cave surveys. Members are making efforts to participate in more rehabilitation and educational trips rather than pure recreational trips. Further work needs to be undertaken with trackmarking in the caves. It is considered important that all individuals are aware of their impact on caves and are familiar with and abide by minimal impact caving techniques. See the section on “public education” for events and more information in this particular area.

B.            Wallcliffe Cave – Shire of Augusta/Margaret River

Following the speleological submissions in 2002, and the years prior to that, the Shire of Augusta Margaret River has not implemented the draft cave management plan for Wallcliffe cave. The concerns regarding both the lack of management of the cave remain. The Shire now wishes the land to be vested to C.A.L.M and managed similar to other caves in the National Park. It appears that C.A.L.M. and the Shire are still working through the actual boundaries of the land to change vesting. We are advised that it will take at least a couple of years for the change in vesting to be finalized. The current situation is that the Shire has changed the process for adventure tour groups wishing to visit the cave. The existing agreement between the sole commercial operator and the Shire expired in June 2003 and was not renewed. The Shire has indicated that the size of tour groups would fall in line with current Self-guided C.A.L.M. caves (horizontal). Now, any group is required to book in advance and to have no more than 8 people. This is a positive change, however other changes required – as outlined in submissions by speleological members regarding the draft management plan.

We are concerned that the Shire will not undertake appropriate active "management" of the cave until CALM confirm whether they will take over management responsibility. One would expect that a current "manager" has certain responsibilities, especially environmental, regarding the resource that they manage. It appears that the Shire considers that they do "not have the expertise or the resources to undertake such works (the necessary rehabilitation and upgrading works required to ensure the long term preservation of the cave structures) ((ie to install trackmarking)) and would prefer CALM to employ their expertise to preserve the cave structure". This issue will be raised further with the Shire, as the situation regarding the current management of the cave is highly concerning. It was pointed out to the Shire in previous correspondence that if the draft management plan could not be implemented then their responsibility is to close the cave until the necessary rehabilitation occurred. Alternatively, if the Shire does not have the expertise then they could contract out the tasks required in the management of the cave to an individual/organization who had the required skills/experience.

C.            Karst in the Mandurah Region

There is little management of the karst system adjacent to the Dawesville Estuary. Some of the caves in this area are on private property, others are in areas of bushland while others are under houses. A local speleological member who acts as a karst consultant has had several inquiries regarding karst assessment (the occasional request for speleologists to examine a cave or area of karst has occurred in this area over many years). Additionally, a small group of speleological members visited the area during the year and undertook a “clean-up” day of Morphett’s cave – removing rubbish from the cave. Further work needs to be undertaken in this area, including public education and liaison with managing agencies.

2.    To the East:

The Nullarbor is a large, significant karst area – the visitation impacts on the karst system are difficult to assess and there is no “on-ground” management of the caves and karst. A large amount of this land is also under review by the Government, after the amendments to the Land Administration Act 2000. The Minister for Planning and Infrastructure must give notice to pastoralists of the Government’s intentions to exclude land from a lease by December 2002. The leased Crown Lands (rangelands or pastoral leases) are due for renewal in 2015. There is currently an ongoing process where pastoralists have two years to negotiate with the Government regarding proposed exclusions of land for heritage, environmental, recreational or tourist purposes. Ecological sustainable management of the rangelands is an important consideration for this situation, and karst areas should also be considered in this process.

A.        South Coast Management Plan

This Regional management plan is dated 1992-2002. There is a small section addressing “caves” and further work needs to be done in this area. At this stage it appears that there has been no progress on this situation and the management plan for the area will need revising. This task is ongoing.

B.      Nullarbor World Heritage Listing

As reported in 2002, this task is ongoing.   There appears to have been no progress on this issue. There will need to be some effort made in recommending the World Heritage Listing for the Nullarbor and contact between both the W.A. state government and the S.A. state government regarding this issue.

C.      Recreational, Research & Commercial Activity impacting on Nullarbor caves.

It was previously reported that Speleological Groups are aware that commercial activity on the Nullarbor has been increasing. It is clear that public visitation to this area is a future issue that will need to addressed. A CALM Interpretation Officer visited the area in September 2003 with the view to planning some interpretation facilities on the Nullarbor. Other concerns regard the protection of caves after the significant discoveries of mega-fauna fossils on the Nullarbor. We would like to highlight that it is important this area has appropriate karst management. This issue is ongoing and will require significant work.

3.     North of Perth:

A.      Yanchep National Park:          

The Yanchep National Park Management plan is dated 1989-1999. As previously reported, the Park Management Plan is expired and needs considerable revising. Significant amounts of the plan have not been implemented and other parts are inaccurate. The C.A.L.M. are in the process of updating the management plan. In September, representatives of the A.S.F. had a special consultative meeting to discuss issues related to the future management of the National Park. It is anticipated that a draft of the plan will be released in March 2004.

The Yanchep National Park Caves Advisory Committee meets bi-monthly to discuss local karst issues. It is recommended that this area needs a specific “cave manager” as a matter of priority. The Permit system is working well and there is now a written record of cave visitation for the area. The main issues for the area still involve cave gating: – design, materials and impacts on fauna (including potential impacts). Since installation, some caves continue to be “broken into” and vandalised in a variety of ways. Evidence of geocaching has also been observed in a cave in the National park. Speleological group members continue to work very closely with C.A.L.M. staff in providing education about karst issues and opportunities for local research.

The situation regarding the cave fauna in the stream caves is critical. Further to what was reported in 2002, the CALM, Water Corporation and Waters and Rivers Commission have been artificially maintaining water to certain areas in attempts to maintain the subterranean stygofauna habitats. The cave streams and root matt communities have been affected by the lowered water table in the area – a result of several factors (climate, pine trees on the eastern catchment and water abstraction) in the area. Three adaptive projects have occurred to date. Firstly an artificial water mound was created to attempt to get some water flow back into the caves. This involved pumping water from the surface lake into another holding area. Secondly, the input of water was moved further east – to input directly into a cave. Finally, there was direct artificial supplementation to the cave stream in the Crystal Cave (the area’s primary tourist cave). It is our opinion that the Government needs to hasten their plans to selectively reduce the Pine Tree Plantations in the east. Currently it is planned to remove and to replace the pines with native vegetation will occur over 20-30 years. Further action regarding this issue is a priority as the catchment to the east is important in the karst hydrology.

It is excellent to see that speleological group members have been very active in the Yanchep area (research/exploration/rehabilitation/conservation). They assist C.A.L.M. in monitoring significant fauna sites, removing graffiti from caves, or other conservation projects. It is our goal to encourage involvement and to assist in projects in the karst area north of Perth. One major project occurred in March 2003, where volunteers and speleologists met to “clean” Crystal Cave. The significance of the lampenflora problem in the cave was highlighted and CALM propose to alter the lighting in the near future. There are further plans to alter the caves infrastructure, however we recommend that further work is undertaken on lampenflora removal.

B.      Carabooda Area:

As reported previously, the ongoing issue is a proposed road through the Emerald Valley area called Alkimos Drive. This road passes next to a recreation reserve in native Tuart bushland, which contains a large number of caves. It is of great concern that the road is planned to go straight over a number of significant caves. The task to address this issue is ongoing. Other tasks include the ongoing work of karst assessment – surveying the caves and an inventory of karst features. A Geoscience Australia representative visited the area with a local speleologist and complied a report titled Review of karst hazards in the Wanneroo area, Perth, Western Australia. There was also been two papers written (and presented at National Conferences in Australia in 2003) on the karst system in this area. These issues were reported on in a Television Program during the year. These issues need to be highlighted with the State Agencies involved as the karst system remains under threat from human development.

C.      Two Rocks & Wanneroo Area:

There needs to be a co-ordinated approach-involving liaison between the City of Wanneroo and Speleological Groups regarding areas under development in karst regions. Speleological groups need greater liaison with the Environmental Protection Authority, to ensure further caves and karst areas are not impacted. One suggestion has been that ground-penetrating radar should be more extensively utilised in karst areas. There is a huge task of acting to protect the karst areas as the current development and impact of Perth’s expanding population pressures on the karst.

Development subdivisions continue to occur. The plan is to have speleological individuals who are able to visit a property and make an assessment of the karst features present. The report can then be given both to the landowner and the local Government to assist in the best response required in the situation. It is our goal to have several landowner education sessions and workshops – discussing the area’s geological development, and what it means to “Live on karst”. Ultimately it is planned to publish a landowners brochure/booklet outlining these issues in a manner that is educational and non confrontational. To assist in this education, and to provide a visual aspect to learning it is envisaged that a 3D karst model be developed – showing the physical interaction between the surface and the subsurface in karst – specifically in this area. This can then be used in education and displays.

D.      Involvement with Government in Local Community Consultation:

Several members of Speleological Groups continue to regularly attend local community consultation groups to ensure that karst issues are considered and raised in ongoing decision-making regarding the northern groundwater mound that is a karst catchment area. The Gnangara/East Gnangara (Water Resources) Community Consultative Committee has met to discuss information on the artificial supplementation of wetlands in the karst area and the emergency response strategy regarding the cave streams and stygofauna in the Yanchep caves. Despite an average winter rainfall during 2003, the decreases in rainfall over the last 5 years and continued increases in groundwater use mean that water bans continue in Perth.

E.      East of Jurien - Drovers Cave National Park:

  • Old River Cave –The Government is planning on developing a borefield in the west of this area. Speleological representatives met with an Environmental group who were preparing a report for the Water Authority. Due to a lack of research in the area, it is unclear how this proposal would impact on the caves hydrology or the karst aquifer – more information needs to be obtained.
  • Drover’s Cave – The proposal (and the C.A.L.M. response) regarding the gate and modifications to the entrance of the cave are ongoing (removal of large quantities of concrete blocking solution pipe entrances and the construction of a new gate). Further discussions are needed regarding actions that will need to occur to implement the proposals. Unfortunately the cave was broken into and re-vandalised during 2003.

F.      South of Jurien - Coastal Area –Jurien/Cervantes:

  • Housing & Roads development

The northward growth of Perth continues to impact on the coast and associated karst features. The planned coast road between Two Rocks/Lancelin and Cervantes and the “Turquoise Coast” will open this area up for future land development. Concerns are that management plans for this area do not appear to have considered the existence of caves or karst features. At this stage, a large amount of the area of bushland has not been assessed for karst features. Further work needs to be done.

  • Lancelin Defence Training Area – (L.D.T.A.)

As noted in the 2002 report, the existing Defence Training Area was not extended further into the karst area. There has also been some requests by local landowners for karst assessments and one trip occurred in August 2003 (locality of SH-21). There is a speleological representative on the management committee for the L.D.T.A. However, due to the location and timing of meetings, volunteer speleologists have not been able to attend all meetings (every 2-3 months). Speleological groups remain involved and provide a consultative role where required.

G.      North of Jurien - Coastal Area:

Speleological Groups were recently contacted regarding plans to seismic survey a large area south of Dongara, from 29.47 degrees south to 29.16 degrees south, from the coast to about 12-15km inland. It involved part of the Beekeepers reserve. A meeting with the company occurred, however the area did not include any known karst areas.

H.      Cape Range:

The Cape Range National Park Management plan is dated 1987-1997. The C.A.L.M. are in the process of updating the management plan. In July, representatives of the A.S.F. had a special consultative meeting to discuss issues related to the future management of the National Park. This process is still in the early stages, with an issues paper due to be publicly released before the end of 2003. However, the preparation of a draft for Cape Range is considered to be a high priority, to facilitate integration with other simultaneous planning processes (eg Ningaloo Marine Park and the Carnarvon-Ningaloo Strategy) so it is planned that a draft will be out by about August 2004.

One issue of concern however, is that the Coral Coasts Parks Advisory Committee – North West Cape-Ningaloo does not have any individuals or representatives with karst background. This group is set up to advise CALM on the management of the Cape Range National Park and the Ningaloo Marine Park.

As noted in previous reports, the A.S.F. took legal action regarding proposed mining leases on the Cape Range. Although this was concluded in the Wardens Court in Perth (11/2000), the process has yet to be concluded. The A.S.F. and its member groups in W.A. continue to consult and lobby the Government regarding this issue. The Government (Minister for Mines) has STILL to make the final decision regarding the granting of the mining leases. The A.S.F. needs to continue to request the removal of the strategic limestone mining purpose from the proposed 5(h) reserve.

The Cape Range National Park should also be extended. The good news is that there is now a formal process occurring regarding the plans to nominate the Cape Range for World Heritage Status. The A.S.F. hopes to be involved in this process and will be advocating that the Cape Range is a significant karst area that needs such protection and recognition.

4.      Public Education.

During 2002 the committee co-ordinated several public education events – the first “ASF Speleo Seminar” (“Cavers caring for Caves”) in May 2002 and participation in two community education displays. It was our aim to continue important community events and to hold two “seminars”.

The year of 2003 has seen the following achievements:

  • July 2003 – The 2nd “ASF Speleo Seminar” called “Cave ecosystems, habitats and subterranean fauna” – This was an evening presentation by the ASF speleology conservation committee and assisted by Dr Bill Humphreys of the WA Museum. About 25 individuals participated, from a wide range of organizations.
  • September 2003 – The 3rd “ASF Speleo Seminar” titled “Subterranean Biodiversity & Threatened Fauna – specific examples from WA” – This was an afternoon presentation to co-incide with "Biodiversity month" and "Threatened species day".       This occurred in the Leeuwin Naturaliste National Park and was supported by CAVEWORKS, CALM, Dr Bill Humphreys (WA Museum) and Kyle Armstrong (Biota Inc.) and local speleologists. There were 60 people who attended the seminar and the annual “cavers dinner”.
  • There were two Joint Speleological Groups “Community Education” Displays. These were held at the Yanchep National Park’s “Spring Fest” on 2/11/03 and the “Centenary” on the 29-30/03/03 at Yanchep.
  • There was speleological involvement at the “Children’s Groundwater Festival”. This involved a Karst display for teachers and primary school age children at Whiteman Park on the 25/11/03.       There was an “interactive” cave, which was quite popular with the children.
  • Ongoing Provision of training to CALM staff (including cave guides) at Yanchep.
  • Public presentation to other groups: A ½ hour presentation on Speleology –introduction and local issues – to Quinns Rocks Environmental Group (08/03) and a 10 minute presentation to the WA Conservation Council on karst systems and “conservation matters” (10/02)
  • Ongoing karst article in the “WANGI” - Monthly Newsletter of the Yanchep National Park.

Special thanks to A.C.K.M.A. for the use of speleological posters for displays, and the Wilderness Society and the Environmental Defender’s Office for the use of display boards.

5.      Future Cave Management in W.A.

          As mentioned in the 2002 Report, W.A. has many caving areas and a huge variety of landowners and cave managers. We consider that Individuals and organizations responsible for any aspect of cave or karst management need knowledge, education and experience in karst and cave management. This specific focus is necessary for the conservation and care of caves. Likewise, it is important that those on local advisory committee’s or management committee’s in karst areas have an excellent understanding of karst systems - this would allow informative and advised decisions regarding the karst management of an area. The aim of the W.A. Conservation Commission is for promoting the need for a State Karst Officer (S.K.O.). The W.A. Karst areas need to be acknowledged as important, precious & non-renewable – to preserve them for future generations to enjoy. The members in W.A. continue to promote the importance of karst systems in this state.

By Jay Anderson, Peter Armstrong and Eve Taylor

Summary

The main conservation issues that currently exist within Western Australia revolve around the karst area to the north of Perth. This area has many issues: water abstraction, land clearing, catchment vegetation and impacts by development. Other issues in W.A. are ongoing and involve land managers and the appropriateness of management measures such as gates and management plans and impacts on karst and associated fauna. There is a huge task of acting to protect the karst areas in W.A. with the majority of agencies involved in “land management” or “environmental protection” appearing to have little knowledge or understanding of karst issues – as reflected in the decisions they make. The Government is yet to make a decision regarding the legal action of the A.S.F. and the proposed mining leases at Cape Range continues (as supported by the E.D.O.). The Speleological Conservation sub-committee has been successful. It is a small group of 6-8 cavers who meet monthly to discuss conservation issues, karst management issues and projects. This group actively works towards the conservation of caves and karst and aims to present regular educational presentations for cavers and cave leaders in W.A.. During 2002 the following events have occurred:

  • May 2002 – “Cavers caring for Caves” – An evening for cavers and outdoor leaders on cave conservation & minimal impact.
  • Two Joint Speleological Groups “Community Education” Displays held at Yanchep National Park’s “Spring Fest” on 6/10/02 and at Neerabup Festival on 17/11/02.
  • “Speleology is a Science – what do cavers really do?” – W.A. Speleology display for Science week 8/2002.
  • Provision of training to CALM staff at Yanchep: 05/2002 -Speleological Group members trained 10 C.A.L.M. staff in issues regarding cave geology and cave conservation issues.
  • Regular contribution (regarding karst issues in W.A.) to W.A. environmental newsletter the “Greener Times” - Monthly Newsletter of the Conservation Council. Articles published in 3/2001, 1/2002, 5/2002, 7/2002 & 10/2002.
  • Ongoing karst related article in the “WANGI” - Monthly Newsletter of the Yanchep National Park.

1.      South of Perth:

A.             Cave Management in the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park (L.N.N.P.)

The Cave Manager for the Department of Conservation and Land Management (C.A.L.M.) has been doing an excellent job of managing the caves within the National Park. Additionally, the Cave Management Advisory Committee (C.M.A.C.) meets bi-monthly to advise The Department on cave management issues. This process is working really well and various Projects have been carried out during the past year. For the first time in 4 years – the cave operations are in the “positive” – we are hoping this will allow more work to be undertaken rather than the ‘necessary’ tasks only. The “Caves Monitoring” system is progressing to assess the permit system compliance, visitor impacts; and environmental monitoring. Regular management inspections of caves occur to check the visitor impacts on the cave and other factors such as track marking. Grants have been obtained to assist with the monitoring of aquatic root mat communities. Decreasing water levels may be a threat to these communities. Water levels are measured monthly, and photographic monitoring and water analysis takes place every three months.

One concern is that a large amount of surveying occurs in restricted access caves. This can cause unnecessary damage and “trogging” and more caver education needs to occur around this issue. It is aimed that cave managers, cave visitors and trip leaders can reconsider their attitudes towards their impact on caves. The W.A.S.G. has purchased an electronic measuring device called a “Disto” that will be used in surveying and that can reduce impacts during cave surveys. We also suggest that more caves are trackmarked and that trip leaders carry track markers and fishing line. It is also extremely important that all individuals are aware of their impact on caves and that they are familiar with and abide by minimal impact caving techniques.

B.             CAVEWORKS

Both the Speleological Groups have worked with CAVEWORKS to finalise the long overdue survey of Easter Cave. There are currently discussions occurring regarding the management of the cave and future access issues. The report on the recent research undertaken by CAVEWORKS is also to be released very soon.

C.             Wallcliffe Cave – Shire of Augusta/Margaret River

In May 2002 a submission was made to the Shire of Augusta Margaret River regarding the draft cave management plan for Wallcliffe cave. There were a variety of concerns regarding both the lack of management of the cave and the sole commercial operator’s activities in the cave. After no response was received, followup letters were sent in October. A reply has indicated that the Shire wishes the land to be vested to C.A.L.M and managed similar to other caves in the National Park. However, it appears that the existing agreement between the sole commercial operator and the Shire takes priority over any recommendations or guidelines - the Shire indicating that the size of tour groups cannot be restricted as the current License agreement clearly allows for groups of up to 25 persons at a time to enter the cave!! More information needs to be obtained and actions taken to ensure the protection of this important karst area.

2.    To the East:

A.             South Coast Management Plan

There has been no progress on this situation and the management plan for the area will need revising. This task is ongoing.

B.         Nullarbor World Heritage Listing

There appears to have been no progress on this issue. There will need to be some effort made in recommending the World Heritage Listing for the Nullarbor and contact between both the W.A. state government and the S.A. state government regarding this issue. This task is ongoing.

C.         Commercial Activity impacting on caves on the Nullarbor

Speleological Groups are aware that commercial activity on the Nullarbor has been increasing and public visitation to this area is a future issue that will need to addressed.

3.     North of Perth:

A.         Yanchep National Park:       

The Yanchep National Park Caves Advisory Committee meets regularly, however it appears that C.A.L.M do not utilise many recommendations from the committee, regarding concerns and actions required. The Park Management Plan is expired and needs considerable revising. Significant amounts of the plan have not been implemented and other parts are inaccurate.

The Permit system is working well and there is now a written record of cave visitation for the area. The main issues involve cave gating: – design, materials and impacts on fauna(including potential impacts). Despite a process involving members of speleological groups assessing each cave and recommending appropriate gate types, several caves have been gated without prior consultation. This issue is of concern in that impacts on the local bat population have not been considered, nor have entry of organic matter into the caves. It is anticipated that speleological group members will need to continue to work very closely with C.A.L.M. staff in providing education about karst and speleological issues and opportunities for research in the area.

The situation regarding the cave fauna in the stream caves is critical. The government has been monitoring the habitats and numbers of amphipods in caves and Waters and Rivers Commission has been artificially maintaining water to certain areas in attempts to maintain the stygofauna habitats. The cave streams and root matt communities have been affected by the lowered water table in the area – a result of climate, pine trees on the eastern catchment and water abstraction in the area. A current proposal by the Government agencies involves an creating an artificial water mound in the National Park to attempt to get some water flow back into the caves. The plans to selectively reduce the Pine Tree Plantations in the area and to replace them with native vegetation will occur over 20-30 years. Further action regarding this issue is a priority as the catchment to the east is important in the karst hydrology.

It is excellent to see that several speleological group members have been very active in the Yanchep area – either in research or in rehabilitation/conservation. There have been a small group of individuals who regularly meet at Yanchep and who carry out work in various caves. This may be assisting C.A.L.M. in monitoring of the significant fauna sites or in removing graffiti from caves, or other conservation projects. It will be our goal to encourage other cavers to get involved and to assist in projects in the karst area north of Perth.

B.         Carabooda Area:

  • Emerald Valley & Alkimos Road

The proposed development of a privately owned block at Carabooda, called “Emerald Valley” was reported last year. There were 8 of the 23 caves and karst features in this area that were directly impacted on by the development. The ongoing issue is a proposed road through the Emerald Valley area called Alkimos Drive. This road passes next to a recreation reserve and adjacent to Reserve No. 24637 (an old limestone quarry site). The area is currently native Tuart bushland and contains a large number of caves. It is of great concern that the road is planned to go straight over a number of significant caves. This area also contains a cave called Koala Cave, which contains palaeontological remains. Several letters have been sent to various Government Departments attempting to resolve this issue and the task is ongoing. Other tasks include the ongoing work of karst assessment – surveying the caves and an inventory of karst features.

  • Lot 51 Walding Road

Another area that contains karst and was to be impacted by further development is directly to the east of the Yanchep National Park. Members made several trips to the area to locate and determine the area’s karst features. A number of caves and karst features were found - one significant cave contained water and had phreatic development. After some discussion, the landowner stated that they planned to incorporate the caves in an area of bushland reserve. The water cave was assessed for fauna and is now receiving the attention of C.A.L.M. It appears that the C.A.L.M. will purchase a significant portion of the subdivision to add to the National Park.

Letters will continue to be sent to City of Wanneroo and the State Government indicating the impact of development on caves and calling for the environmental assessment processes and land subdivision process to be changed. Additionally, we will continue to request that the specific proposal of Alkimos Drive road be relocated to protect the caves in the region. Local caver and geologist, Lex Bastian continues to draw the authorities notice to this matter and raising the awareness of locals to the impact of development in our “backyard”.

C.         Two Rocks & Wanneroo Area:

The 2001 report stated that the City of Wanneroo corresponded with the caving clubs during 2000, regarding a request for cave location details and a proposed Memorandum of Understanding between the S.E.S., Police, City of Wanneroo and Caving Clubs. This issue was resolved at the time with the Speleological Groups providing a representative to the local emergency management committee (L.E.M.C.), providing a list of “speleo” rescue contacts and agreeing to work with the City of Wanneroo to provide a karst map giving general locations of karst areas that contain significant karst needing further assessment if that area is to be impacted by development. The original request for cave location information has been made again recently, by the L.E.M.C. Advice has been sought from the E.D.O. (Environmental Defender’s Office) on this issue and further actions will need to be taken.

It is clear that there needs to be a co-ordinated approach-involving liaison between the City of Wanneroo and Caving Clubs regarding areas under development in karst regions. Greater liaison with the Environmental Protection Authority is needed, by caving clubs, to ensure further caves and karst areas are not impacted. There is a huge task of acting to protect the karst areas as the current development and impact of Perth’s expanding population pressures on the karst.

Development subdivisions continue to occur. The plan is to have speleological individuals who are able to visit a property and make an assessment of the karst features present. The report can then be given both to the landowner and the local Government to assist in the best response required in the situation. It is our goal for 2003 to have several landowner education sessions and workshops – discussing the area’s geological development, and what it means to “Live on karst”. Ultimately it is planned to publish a landowners brochure/booklet outlining these issues in a manner that is educational and non confrontational. To assist in this education, and to provide a visual aspect to learning it is envisaged that a 3D karst model be developed – showing the physical interaction between the surface and the subsurface in karst – specifically in this area.

D.         Involvement with Government in Local Community Consultation:

Several members of Speleological Groups regularly attend local community consultation groups to ensure that karst issues are considered and raised in ongoing decision making regarding the northern groundwater mound that is a karst catchment area. The Gnangara/East Gnangara (Water Resources) Community Consultative Committee meets approximately bi-monthly to discuss progress on the state of the Gnangara Mound and the ‘Section 46 – Review of Environmental Conditions on management of the Gnangara and Jandakot Mounds’. This includes information on the artificial supplementation of wetlands in the karst area and the emergency response strategy regarding the cave streams and stygofauna in the Yanchep caves. It was also excellent to see significant speleological presence at the government’s Gnangara Mound Water Forum – held in September 2002.

E.         East of Jurien - Drovers Cave National Park:

  • Old River Cave – At this stage, the land clearance adjacent to the National Park (occurred during 2000) does not appear to have significantly impacted on the underground stream.
  • Future impacts in the area. It is believed that the Government is planning on developing a borefield in the west of this area. It is unclear how this proposal would impact on the caves hydrology or the karst aquifer – more information needs to be obtained.
  • Drover’s Cave – The proposal and the C.A.L.M. response regarding the removal of large quantities of concrete blocking solution pipe cave entrances and the construction of a new gate for Drovers Cave is ongoing. A recent conservation field trip to the cave occurred and participants raised concerns regarding the need for a full fauna assessment and further information regarding the cave to occur prior to major changes to the caves airflow. It will also be recommended that the whole main entrance be restored to it’s original condition – rather than just altering the gate – ie to remove the rock wall in the overhang entrance and to have a larger area of “gate” that is bat friendly. Further discussions will be undertaken regarding actions that will need to occur to implement the proposals.

F.         South of Jurien - Coastal Area –Jurien/Cervantes:

  • Housing & Roads development

The northward growth of Perth continues to impact on the coast and associated karst features. The planned coast road between Two Rocks/Lancelin and Cervantes and the “Turquoise Coast” will open this area up for future land development. The land to the east of Jurien has already been subdivided with one known cave being involved. The proposal for the “Turquoise Coast Development, Jurien Bay” does not appear to have considered the existence of caves or karst features in this area of land. Further work needs to be done in this area. At this stage, a large amount of the area of bushland has not been assessed for karst features.

  • Lancelin Defence Training Area – (L.D.T.A.) proposed Extensions

During June 2002, the E.P.A. released a P.E.R. (public environmental review) regarding the area to the north of the existing Defence Training Area. The Defence Department proposed to extend their training area. This is a karst area close to the pinnacles and threatened SH-21 (Tombstones cave), which was significantly extended in cave diving trips during 2001 and is now a significant cave for the area. Concerns were expressed by Speleological Groups and local community groups regarding the lack of consultation and the need for a thorough karst assessment to occur.

As no response was received, during October, followup letters were sent to the E.P.A., The Minister for the Environment and The Minister for Defence. We are advised that the Defence will not proceed with the proposal to extend the existing L.D.T.A. and will investigate alternative sites. The decision was made after careful examination of the proposed area and in consideration of the concerns raised by neighbouring property and community groups. The W.A.S.G. have been notified that they will be invited to be on a management committee for the L.D.T.A.

G.         Cape Range:

(refer to previous reports for the background and ongoing specific details). Although the legal action of the A.S.F. (that was supported by the E.D.O) regarding the proposed mining leases on the Cape Range, was concluded in the Wardens Court in Perth in November 2000, the process continues. The E.P.A. process of assessment was to be an Environmental Review and Management Program (E.R.M.P). The public comment for this closed on the 7/10/2002. There were submissions from both the A.S.F. and the state Speleological Groups. Additionally, the Conservation Council and the Wilderness Society met with speleological representatives to gain an understanding of the karst issues involved. Access was provided to the information utilised in the A.S.F. court process. Some weeks after submissions had closed – the E.P.A. made contact requesting permission to forward the speleological submission in totality to the proponent – rather than just including the concerns in a summary report that includes other groups concerns.

At some stage, the Government (Minister for Mines) will make the final decision regarding the granting of the mining leases. It is our recommendation that the A.S.F. continue to oppose limestone mining on the Cape Range peninsula, call for the Government to remove the strategic limestone mining purpose from the proposed 5(h) reserve, enlarge the Cape Range National Park and advocate for World Heritage Listing.

G.         Issue regarding the Mining Warden’s Court being able to hear environmental objections:

There were two submissions made on this issue – one in February 2002, when a submission was made on the “Project Development Approvals System – Interim Report”. Then, in May 2002, a submission on the “Project Development Approvals System – Final Report” was made. This report related to the Government’s proposed changes to The Mining Act regarding the Mining Warden’s ability to hear objections in the Mining Warden’s Court on environmental grounds. This was the case utilised in 1999 by the E.D.O, and that allowed the ASF to take the proponent to court regarding the proposed limestone quarry at Cape Range. The advantages of the Warden's Court process include an extremely high quality of material presented as opposed to an environmental assessment/review submission and the ability to call witnesses and cross-examine. This Court process is open and clear process where varying forms of evidence can be presented.

4.       Comments on W.A. Cave Management Practices.

          W.A. has many caving areas and a huge variety of landowners and cave managers.         It is our belief that Government agencies, Cave Managers and Speleological Advisors on cave management committee’s need knowledge, education and experience in karst and cave management. The specific focus is necessary for the conservation and care of caves. This would allow informative and advised decisions regarding the karst management of an area. Thus, the aim of the W.A. Conservation Commission is for promoting the future form of cave management to involve a State Karst Officer (S.K.O.) who had a background in caves and karst and could make appropriate decisions regarding each karst area in our state. A suitable proposal needs to be developed and discussed with Government and other agencies. Some Local Councils have indicated they would support such a proposal. The W.A. Karst areas need to be acknowledged as important, precious & non-renewable so that they can be preserved for future generations to enjoy.

By Jay Anderson

Executive Summary

The main conservation issues that currently exist within Western Australia are summarised below.

  • Housing developments in the Southwest of the state (from north of Perth in Wanneroo to as far north as Jurien Bay) continue to have significant impacts on karst areas and caves in particular. Several known cave entrances were destroyed when a road was built over them at Carabooda just north of Perth. The Presidents of the Clubs have met with the local City of Wanneroo to discuss the karst in the area and to plan a co-ordinated approach-involving liaison regarding areas under development in karst regions. Greater liaison with the Environmental Protection Authority is also planned, by caving clubs, to ensure further caves and karst areas are not impacted. There is a huge task of acting to protect the karst areas, as decisions of the last 40 odd years in “land specification” are affecting the current development and impact of Perth’s expanding population pressures on the karst.
  • Cape Range – The legal action of the A.S.F. (that was supported by the E.D.O) regarding the proposed mining leases covering 82 sq km of Cape Range was concluded in the Wardens Court in Perth on 10 November 2000. The Warden made his recommendation to the Minister for Mines on 9 February 2001. The mining company had also referred the proposed mine to the E.P.A. for evaluation. Objections to the level of evaluation were lodged, with us recommending for a change in the level of assessment. The outcome was that the level of assessment was changed (although not to the level we suggested). We are now waiting on the proponent to release their environmental review document for public submission, at which time we will make further comments in a formal submission. Additionally, through the campaigning of other conservation groups, the public is becoming more aware of the proposed resort at Mauds Landing, north of Coral Bay, on the Cape Range coast. There is now more support for the A.S.F. and W.A. caving clubs objection to the proposed mine as other groups are now aware that the limestone from the proposed quarry is for the proposed marina at Mauds Landing.
  • The Department of Conservation and Land Management (C.A.L.M.) was divided into two departments: One to manage Forest’s, the other to manage National Parks and Reserves. The body that previously managed lands held by C.A.L.M. (tbe N.P.N.C.A.) was reorganised and is now called the Conservation Commission. They will be approached to ensure that future management plans adequately cover the specific needs of caves and karst. The N.P.N.C.A. had previously indicated that the appointment of a State Karst Officer was being considered. Further approaches, to the Conservation Commission regarding this issue, will be made once a suitable proposal is developed. There are several members working on plans for the State Karst Officer proposal and methods of lobbying Government for this position.

I have held the position of W.A.S.G. Conservation Officer for two years. I am also the W.A.S.G. representative on two Government Cave Management Committee’s, both of which meet bi-monthly –The Leeuwin Naturaliste National Park and The Yanchep National Park. During 2000, and with the realisation that the conservation position required more than one person, W.A.S.G. approved my proposal for a Conservation sub-committee. This group currently consists of 4-5 self-nominated people and meets monthly to discuss the specific issues that arise and to actively work towards the conservation of caves and karst. After discussions with other clubs, I am pleased to state that S.R.G.W.A. has nominated a representative to the committee. The Conservation Committee will now represent all W.A. clubs and several members will jointly be the A.S.F. conservation convenors.

Finally, a big “Thank You” to all cavers who have been interested in conservation issues and who have volunteered their time for various discussions, meetings and projects, especially to Rauleigh Webb who is willing to share what he has learnt and who is able to provide valuable consultation on an informal basis to anyone who asks and is willing to listen.

Jay Anderson

1.       South of Perth:   

Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park (L.N.N.P.)

A.         Cave Management and C.M.A.C.

The Cave Manager for the Department of Conservation and Land Management has been managing the caves within the National Park, including restricted access and permit system caves. Additionally, the Cave Management Advisory Committee meets bi-monthly to advise C.A.L.M. and the Caves Manager on cave management issues. Under C.A.L.M. organization, various Projects have been carried out during the past year – these include – monitoring of water levels, environmental monitoring of air quality, trackmarking, installation of hazard signs and installation of infrastructure such as boardwalks or stairs. It has been reported that the income from public cave entry and the cave/abseil/climbing permit system is covering the day to day operating costs. However, there is a HUGE list of projects that need to occur (replace gates, signs, stairs, pathways; increase staff monitoring of caves, installation of toilets). Additionally, where conservation or rehabilitation work needs to occur, cavers and volunteers are utilised for labour. However, it is also disappointing to see that the issue of research or investigative assessments are not a consideration due to the current lack of funding. It is felt that there needs to be more provision of funding to allow the much needed work and research in the areas caves.

During 2001, the contract expired for Edith Cowan University to provide Leadership training for the C.L.A.P. course ( Cave Leadership Assessment Panel). The Landmanager is now organising and facilitating the leadership training. As previously reported, with the introduction of Formal Leader Training, the number of leaders went from about 500 (in the self-assessment method) to the current number of about 60 leaders. It appears that there are few participants on the courses (3-5 people), which make the course difficult to run more than several times a year. This basic course provides knowledge about local karst and some leadership skills to Outdoor Leaders wishing to take participants to a certain category of caves within the National park. It is considered by some that there needs to be some more ongoing assessment or training of leaders, and that encouraging leaders to belong to A.S.F. caving clubs would improve the attitudes and behaviours of Leaders.

There was once major cave conservation incident during the year. A significant piece of formation called the “Christmas Tree” in Dingo cave was damaged. It appeared that there was a minor incident within a group of teenagers where the leader’s attention was diverted from the larger part of the group. During the trip, the formation was broken, apparently accidentally. It is important to note that the area was trackmarked and signs in the area should have indicated the significance of the area. However, it appears that the trackmarking had been previously tampered with (and not reported to management) and the “no-go” sign’s had been removed. The combination of factors led to light disciplinary action and a heightened awareness of the need for regular management visits to caves. The Formation was able to be returned to it’s original position, however it is not the same and is missing most of it’s crystals. It is hoped that this most unfortunate incident allowed all cavers and cave visitors to reconsider both their attitudes towards caves and their impact on caves.

As a result of the above incident, the Caves Manager has implemented a specific “Caves Monitoring” system where there is regular assessment of; permit system compliance and visitor impact; environmental resource and visitor impact; and environmental monitoring. Regular management inspections of caves will occur to check the impacts on the cave and other factors such as trackmarking. The implementation of this process is a great improvement on the current situation.

B.         Track and Route Marking

I can report that caves within the Permit System (where public have access with accredited and approved leaders) are either trackmarked or utilise a route marking reflection system. Caves within the Restricted access and locked section are trackmarked according to work trip proposals and caver recommendations. Generally this system is maintained by cavers, volunteers or C.A.L.M employees when damages are observed or reported. It is my opinion that, although cavers and landmanagers are aware of the human impact on caves and minimal impact caving practices, there still is a lot of work that can be done and actions that can be undertaken to minimise our impact on caves. The Education of cave users, about their direct and indirect impacts on caves is a continuous process!!!

C.         Widening of Caves Road

The Main Roads department in Western Australia has been planning for a lengthy period of time to widen Caves Road in the South-West of Western Australia (from Yallingup to Augusta). This road has become the major access road to many of the key features of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park (such as Calgardup Cave, as well as tourist facilities such as Lake Cave, Mammoth Cave and the Caveworks Interpretive Centre). It also passes over a number of known caves and lies very close (less than 10m) to a number of others. It appears that portions of Caves Road will be relocated, at some stage, to avoid “Black Spots” and also a number of caves. It is reported that the intent is that the road will not be widened in the National Park, and that any possible changes would be in consultation with the landmanagers/National park.

2.     To the East:

A.         Commercial Activity impacting on caves on the Nullarbor

It has come to our attention that Commercial activity on the Nullarbor has been increasing. The affects of this are not yet known, however Television and individual reports indicated that there are some commercial operators who are visiting this region (caves such as Old Homestead). Discussions with Landmanagers and D.O.L.A. reveal that the landmanagers don’t consider this an issue and have little capacity to control access to the area. It is considered that public visitation to this area is a future issue that will need to addressed.

B. Nullarbor World Heritage Listing

There appears to have been no progress on this issue, since the election of the new Government placed the proposed listing in limbo. No new developments have occurred and this area’s status needs to be raised with the Government again.

C.         South Coast Management Plan

The situation has not changed significantly from previous reports. It still appears that none of the proposed National Parks or reserves in the Nullarbor region have been declared. The required legislation is still on it’s way……. The management plan for the area is almost due for renewal and none of the proposed National Parks or reserves to protect caves have been declared.

 

3.     North of Perth:

A.         Yanchep National Park:       

During mid 1999, the Yanchep National Park Caves Advisory Committee was formed. This was in accordance with the Park Management Plan involving “Cave Management”. This committee has recently developed a set of “Guidelines” for cavers, “Objectives for caving Permit system”, and a “Code of Practice for Caving in Yanchep National Park”. Additionally, the caves have been categorised into various categories according to access. A manual cave visitor register has been formalised to record cave visitations and some caves will be gated and locked. Members of our clubs have been involved in the process of assessing caves and recommending appropriate gate types. It is anticipated that C.A.L.M. staff will make the gates and the caving club members will assist in the installation of the gates.

It has been known for some time that the water levels in the caves and caves streams has been declining over the years. The Park staff have been monitoring the habitats and numbers of amphipods in caves. It is also understood that the Waters and Rivers Commission has been pumping water to certain areas in attempts to maintain the stygofauna habitats. It appears that the fauna are now being kept alive in artificial conditions in several caves. It is unclear how many amphipods are remaining in the cave environment now that the cave streams and root matt communities have been affected by the lowered water table.

It is known that the Gnangara Mound is at low levels. There are plans to selectively reduce the Pine Tree Plantations in the area and to replace them with native vegetation. However, this process needs to occur immediately, not over 20-30 years as is currently proposed. The Government Department responsible for managing the State’s water supply acknowledges that the water table has lowered, however it is unclear whether this is a result of climatic conditions or whether it is a seasonal issue. Regardless of the cause, the low water table impacts on the caves and the effect of this on the cave fauna is at a critical stage.

B.         Carabooda Area:

It was reported last year on the proposed development of a privately owned block at Carabooda, called “Emerald Valley”. Unfortunately the land owner and developer did not consider the importance of caves during the development of this land. There were 23 caves and karst features located, explored and documented on the land proposed for development. A total number of 8 caves were directly impacted on by the development. Despite the objections of local members, nothing was done (by either the local Council or the State Government) to address the issue.

Furthermore, there is a proposed road through the Emerald Valley area called Alkimos Drive. This road passes next to a recreation reserve and adjacent to Reserve No. 24637 (an old limestone quarry site). The area is currently native bushland and contains a large number of caves. It is of great concern that the road is planned to go straight over a number of significant caves. One cave called Koala Cave has been known to contain palaeontological remains. More recently, this cave was visited and further important bones have been found. It is reported that this site is the only substantial mega fauna site in the Perth Metropolitan Area. The following fauna was found at Koala Cave during September 2001: Sthenurus pales and Sthenurus brownei (large extinct kangaroo’s), Vombatus hacketti (extinct wombat), Wonambi naracoortensis (extinct giant python at 4-6m long) and the Phaseolarctus cinereea (Koala). It is clear that this area is significant and needs to be protected.

There are two other areas nearby that are currently under plans for further development: Lot 51 Walding Road and Bernard Road. Members will be continuing to express concern regarding these proposed developments to the City of Wanneroo and the State Government. Letters will continue to be dispatched to appropriate authorities indicating the impact of development on caves and calling for the environmental assessment processes to be changed to ensure that such a situation will not occur again in the future. Many thanks to Lex Bastian for his continued attempts to draw notice to this matter with authorities and on raising the awareness of local cavers to the impact of development in our “backyard”.

C.         Two Rocks & Wanneroo Area:

The City of Wanneroo corresponded with the caving clubs during 2000, regarding a request for cave location details and a proposed Memorandum of Understanding between the S.E.S., Police, City of Wanneroo and Caving Clubs. The main issues involved were regarding environmental management and safety issues around the caves in the area. Several Joint meeting between the clubs resolved that specific cave locations could not be safely exchanged or kept in a Government Department. As such, there is a plan for a co-ordinated approach-involving liaison between the City of Wanneroo and Caving Clubs regarding areas under development in karst regions. Additionally, discussions were held regarding the sharing of cave locations for safety issues and the consultation and involvement of cavers in a rescue with other agencies such as the S.E.S. and the Police. Greater liaison with the Environmental Protection Authority is also planned, by caving clubs, to ensure further caves and karst areas are not impacted. There is a huge task of acting to protect the karst areas, as decisions of the last 40 odd years in “land specification” are affecting the current development and impact of Perth’s expanding population pressures on the karst.

The northwards extension of the Freeway and Wanneroo Road Upgrades may also impact on karst areas. This issue is being investigated further. The extent of the impact of the new developments on the boundary of the National Park is also an issue that is being investigated.

Development subdivisions in areas such as reported in previous reports (the Tokyu Corporation) continue to rise. The City of Wanneroo has a Karstic Policy stating that new developments need to undergo a cave and karst assessment first. It is anticipated that “cavers” will be allowed access to the caves to make appropriate comment on potential impacts on the caves and karst. There are several caving club members who have been utilised for this process of visiting a property and making an assessment of the karst features present. Where areas are assessed by the E.P.A. and are applied for under the environmental review process, the A.S.F. will continue to provide submissions.

D.         East of Jurien - Drovers Cave National Park:

  • Old River Cave - The land clearance adjacent to the National Park took place during the year 2000. This large land clearance caused concerns to be raised to the Environmental Protection Authority and may affect future applications for land clearances. At this stage, the impact of the land clearance on Old River Cave does not appear to have been assessed.
  • Drover’s Cave - A meeting occurred in 1999 between the A.S.F. Co-Convenors and CALM to discuss the removal of large quantities of concrete blocking solution pipe cave entrances and the construction of a new gate for Drovers Cave. It was hoped that both of these acts would restore airflow to the cave and possibly attract back the bats that once resided in the cave. This proposal was sent to CALM in late 2000 and a response was received during mid 2001. The Landmanager was in agreance with most of the proposals and further discussions will be undertaken regarding actions that will need to occur to implement the proposal.

E.         South of Jurien - Coastal Area –Jurien/Cervantes:

The northward growth of Perth continues to impact on the coast and associated karst features. There is a planned coast road between Two Rocks/Lancelin and Cervantes. The coastal localities of Wedge and Grey have been cited in development plans as “attractive locations on the Turquoise Coast”. It appears that land to the east of Jurien has already been subdivided with one known cave being involved. There is a current proposal for the “Turquoise Coast Development, Jurien Bay”. This area is an area of 2,006 hectares that contains 1,508 hectares of bushland, and is bounded to the south by the Hill River, and to the east by Indian Ocean Drive. The existence of caves or karst features in this area of land is yet to be determined.

F.         Cape Range:

Please refer to previous reports for the background and specific details of this issue. The legal action of the A.S.F. (that was supported by the E.D.O) regarding the proposed mining leases on the Cape Range was concluded in the Wardens Court in Perth on 10 November 2000. The Warden made his recommendation (to the Minister for Mines on 9 February 2001), having accepted the evidence of several witnesses called by the A.S.F. The Warden found that the Cape Range is a unique karst system, outstanding on world scale in terms of its location, geological structure, subterranean fauna and it’s integrity. He also agreed that the Cape Range contained unique and extraordinary subterranean fauna, and that it was likely that unique fauna would be destroyed by a mining operation. The Warden also noted a high potential for significant undiscovered anthropological sites. The Warden accepted that the Cape Range contained World Heritage values and that mining activity would be a “significant negative factor” in future decisions regarding World Heritage nomination or listing.

Specific Recommendations of the Warden included: The mining lease should only be granted for the area presently proposed to be mined (thereby rejecting 99.98% of the area applied for); The mining lease should only cover an area that is necessary for the proponent to conduct an efficient mining operation; This small mining lease should only be granted if the E.P.A. finds that the proposal is environmentally acceptable; The E.P.A. assessment of the proposal to mine should be made before the Minister makes his decision (contrary to current policy); If it is found that the mine should not be sited where it is presently proposed, then the applicant should not put the mine in any other site within the lease area without going through the process again. It appears that the Warden was keen to minimise the risk to the environmental and World Heritage Values of the area and it is a positive result for the A.S.F.

The mining company had also referred the proposed mine to the E.P.A. for evaluation. Objections to the level of evaluation (Public Environmental Review - P.E.R.) were lodged, with us recommending for a change to a Proposal Unlikely to Environmentally Acceptable (P.U.E.A.). The outcome was that the level of assessment was changed from a P.E.R. to an Environmental Review and Management Program (E.R.M.P). Once again, this is a positive outcome, and the Minister allowed an extended period of public comment (10 weeks instead of 8 weeks).

Additionally, through the campaigning of other conservation groups, the public is becoming more aware of the proposed resort at Mauds Landing. This is north of Coral Bay, on the west of the Cape Range coast. It is apparent that the area is a significant site for a large variety of marine creatures and that the area will be impacted on by the proposed development. The limestone for the proposed marina at Mauds Landing is to come from the proposed quarry. There is now more support for the A.S.F. and the W.A. caving clubs objection to the proposed mine, as other groups are now aware of the two issues.

It is known from past fauna studies that there is a large variety of troglobitic fauna in the Cape Range area. Preliminary information regarding the fauna collected (from drill holes placed on the proposed mining lease) indicates several possible new species. The report indicates that there are several new genus and species of troglobitic fauna identified. One species had not been previously found in the Cape Range or elsewhere, while another is a new family record for Australia. It will be interesting to see what the proponent does with these results.

We are now waiting on the proponent to release their environmental review document for public submission, at which time we will make further comments in a formal submission. However, it is the Minister for Mines, who will have the final decision regarding the granting of the mining leases.

Finally, we really appreciate the huge amounts of work that was undertaken by the lawyer’s of the Environmental Defender’s Office and their staff in the preparation and execution of this case. Whatever the outcome of this case the A.S.F. will need to continue to oppose limestone mining on the Cape Range peninsula, call for the Government to remove the strategic limestone mining purpose from the proposed 5(h) reserve, enlarge the Cape Range National Park and advocate for World Heritage Listing for Cape Range.