Not so easy to reverse damage

I agree with much of what he says but, unfortunately, it’s not as easy to reverse the damage humans do to the environment as we sometimes think.

The dual-purpose walkway-cycle path running through Baigup Wetland is a case in point. There is absolutely no doubt that retaining what was constructed originally as an access track for the installation of the gas pipe through the wetland in the mid 1980s was a mistake from an ecological and hydrological point of view.

Nevertheless, simply removing parts of the track for boardwalks (recommended in various reports since 1991) will itself create problems, at least in the short term.

Baigup is a high-risk potential acid sulfate soils site with a history of at least one serious acid sulfate event in the early 2000s that not only contaminated the river with heavy metals, but also seriously compromised the health of several stands of Freshwater Paperbarks in the reserve.

Those heavy metals were safely locked in the peaty soils for millennia before being disturbed by heavy machinery. Further construction is likely to create an acid pulse with new implications for the health of the wetlands, the fish in the river and other wildlife.

That is not to say the walkway situation should not be redressed eventually. After amalgamation might certainly be the time to do it, but great care and appropriate guidance from the Department of Environment will be needed.

This is not an option; it’s a legal requirement.