Snowy 2.0 to spread noxious fish and disease throughout Kosciuszko National Park and downstream rivers

Scientific experts have warned that if the massive Snowy 2.0 pumped hydro
development goes ahead it will spread noxious pests, weeds and diseases
throughout the alpine river system and downstream, causing catastrophic damage to aquatic environments, commercial fish farms and recreational fishing.

Snowy Hydro Ltd have been unable to come up with any viable controls to stop the spread of aquatic pests, plants and diseases. Accordingly, they have applied for an exemption from the NSW Biosecurity Act 2015 to allow them to take actions that would spread Redfin Perch, a Class 1 Noxious Pest and a known carrier of the Epizootic Hematopoietic Necrosis Virus ( EHNV), into uninfested waterways.

It is unthinkable that a corporation would ever be allowed to expand their operations within a National Heritage listed Park but to even consider relaxing the law to allow the spread of exotic pests and diseases is reprehensible”, said Gary Dunnett CEO of the National Parks Association NSW.

“The fragile alpine ecosystems of Kosciuszko are already under significant pressure from several feral species, exacerbated by the recent bushfires. Our NSW inland rivers are struggling for survival and Snowy Hydro have refused to put forth any alternatives to their project most of which would be cheaper, quicker to build and without destroying sensitive alpine ecosystems found nowhere else on earth” said
Gary Dunnett.

The Australian National University has identified 22,000 potential pumped hydro sites in Australia with 8,600 in NSW and the ACT the vast majority of which are not located within protected environments like Kosciuszko National Park.

We are calling on the NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes to conduct an independent assessment into the Snowy 2.0 project to analyse impacts from and alternatives to this project before our precious Alpine ecosystems are damaged forever.

ENDS

Media: Gary Dunnett, NPA EO – (02) 9299 0000


References:

Australian National University: ANU Finds 22,000 potential pumped hydro sites in Australia https://energy.anu.edu.au/research/highlights/anu-finds-22000-potential-pumped-hydro-sites-australia

Australian Society for Fish Biology submission into the Snowy 2.0 main works EIS https://majorprojects.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/prweb/PRRestService/mp/01/getContent?AttachRef=EXH-2536%2120191107T053839.445%20GMT

Baumgartner LJ, Boys, CA, Gilligan DM, Silva, LG, Pflugrath B, Ning N (2016). Fish transfer risk associated with Snowy 2.0 pumped hydro scheme: a report prepared for Snowy Hydro Ltd. Institute for Land, Water and Society, Charles Sturt University. 35 pp. 1 volume, ILWS Report No. 107. ISBN: 978-1-86-467280-0

Associate Professor Mark Lintermans Submission into the Snowy 2.0 Main works EIS https://majorprojects.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/prweb/PRRestService/mp/01/getContent?AttachRef=EXH-2536%2120191112T045500.703%20GMT

National Parks Association NSW: Snowy Doesn’t Stack Up https://npansw.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/191014-Snowy-2.0-doesnt-stack-up-FINAL.pdf

NSW DPI Fisheries submission into the Snowy 2.0 Main Works Enivornmental Impact Statement https://majorprojects.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/prweb/PRRestService/mp/01/getContent?AttachRef=EXH-2536%2120191216T065855.795%20GMT

Quotes from NSW Department Primary Industries submission into Snowy 2.0 Main Works.

“Snowy 2.0 as currently proposed will translocate redfin into the higher reservoir Tantangara where it will then invade the entire Murrumbidge river system”.

“What can be predicted with a very high level of certainty is that if redfin establish within the mid-Murrumbidgee catchment, then the impacts on the resident Macquarie perch population will be catastrophic, with the most likely outcome the localised extinction of that population”.

“Incursions of Redfin Perch and Climbing Galaxias into Tantangara will significantly jeopardise the longer term conservation of the Stocky Galaxias species, as it is currently reliant on the establishment of additional populations potentially within and outside its known range”.

Quotes from Baumgartner et al (Research contracted by Snowy Hydro Ltd)

“This review has determined that Redfin perch could potentially colonise Tantangara Reservoir. Operation of Snowy 2.0 will substantially increase this likelihood beyond existing levels”.

“A multiple lines of evidence approach has determined that there is a substantial risk of Redfin perch incursion into Tantangara Reservoir under present design parametersassociated with Snowy 2.0”.

“Redfin perch also carry EHNV, a lethal disease that infects trout and native species (Table 4). Screens and fluid shear would not impact live virus particles which survive outside the host for up to 113 days (and there is potential for these particles to be transmitted mechanically by fomites (Langdon and Humphrey 1987)”.

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