Canberra’s water supply catchment needs to be protected

Released 08/06/2018

ACT Parks and Conservation today echoed concerns expressed by scientists as to the impact heavy hoofed feral animals are having on the ecosystem of the Australian Alps national parks, which include threatened plants and animals in the ACT.

“The ACT is part of a cross border program protecting the Australian high country which includes our own Cotter Catchment within Namadgi National Park,” Director of ACT Parks and Conservation Service, Daniel Iglesias said.

“The catchment is a main source of drinking water in the ACT, and as such we rely on the integrity and protection of Namadgi National Park.

“Nationally, snowmelt and rainfall flowing from the Australian Alps contributes more than 30% of inflows into the Murray-Darling system, and even more in dry years, despite covering just 0.2% of the continent.

“Heavy hoofed animals damage waterways, cause erosion and trample habitat. They threaten the water quality in the Murray-Darling Basin.

“The science is clear. Feral horses, along with other European introduced pests such as pigs and deer, are a major threat to the unique environment of the Australian Alps.

“The northern corroboree frog, which live in the moist alpine bogs of the ACT high country, is just one of the critically endangered animals whose habitat is damaged by hard hoofed animals including horses.

“These feral animals do not recognise state boundaries, but it’s important to know we have been effective in excluding horses from moving from Kosciuszko into the ACT’s high country to date.

“We will have a strong interest in whatever control programs NSW adopt, as they have to be effective enough to ensure ACT’s water catchment is not impacted by horses crossing the border.

“Australia is the world’s driest inhabited continent, and the Australian Alps is crucial as a catchment, as climate change refuge, and as a connected community of species found nowhere else on earth.

“In the ACT, we are focused on ensuring our sensitive and critical water catchment is protected from the harmful impact of feral animals, including horses.”

- Statement ends -

Section: ACT Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate | Media Releases

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