State of Conservation (SOC)
Tasmanian Wilderness (2001)
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds
International Assistance granted to the property
Total Amount Ap proved:0USD
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Potential construction of a dam (issue resolved)
- Commercial logging in areas adjacent to the World Heritage property
Current conservation issues
IUCN has received information on the proposed Basslink project. The project involves constructing an electricity connector between Tasmania and the Australian mainland in order to connect the Tasmanian hydropower system with the mainland grid. The project involves changed operating regimes at the current Gordon River Hydro Electric Scheme. Changes to the regime involve changes in the utilisation of the turbines (both number of turbines and the time of their activation) and associated changes in water release. The Gordon River Hydro Electric scheme is entirely within the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA).
IUCN notes that at the time of World Heritage Listing, the World Heritage Committee expressed concern about the impact of the Gordon power scheme on the Gordon River and imposed a set of conditions including monitoring of riverbank erosion and the health of the meromictic lakes, that are key features of this World Heritage site.
There are numerous concerns with the Basslink proposal, including its impact on the World Heritage site. Concerns raised by different experts include:
· The maintenance of meromixis in the meromictic lakes depends on saline recharge as a result of salt wedge intrusion in the Gordon River upstream of the lakes. Analysis shows that suitable flow conditions for extensive salt wedge intrusion have been limited by the Gordon Power station. The changed flow regime required by Basslink may exacerbate the effects on the meromictic lakes.
· Under Basslink, the Middle Gordon is forecast to develop an even more extremely to highly variable flow, thus impacting ecological processes in the inter-tidal zone and causing degradation to the riparian vegetation.
· The proposed mitigation and adaptation measures may not stop the increased erosion due to scour, increased seepage erosion, acceleration of riparian vegetation decline, the loss of mid-tidal macro invertebrate communities or further loss of snag habitat.
IUCN is concerned that the proposed Basslink project may impact negatively on the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area and that the existing impacts associated with the Gordon River Hydro Electric Scheme may be exacerbated by the Basslink proposal.
IUCN has also received a report on a proposed ecotourism resort at Planters Beach, Cockle Creek in the South West National Park. The resort will comprise of a lodge, 60-80 accommodation units, an 800-metre extension of the current road into the Park, a jetty, walking tracks, spas, a tavern, 92 car park spaces and four bus bays. Water will be sourced from ground water and all waste including treated sewage will be disposed of by seepage into the dune system. It is reported that the development will impact on a shell-collection site used by indigenous communities. The resort is sited within the boundaries of the South West National Park, but outside the World Heritage site. It is however within the area covered by the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area Management Plan 1999 (WHA Plan). Therefore, for the development project to proceed, the Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment proposes that the WHA Plan be amended to allow for addition of a new ‘Visitor Services Site’. The proposal and proposed amendment to the WHA Plan were publicly announced and submissions called for in April 2001.
The Bureau may wish to adopt the following:
“The Bureau expresses concerns regarding the Basslink project and the resort development project, both of which may have potential adverse impacts on the integrity of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. The Bureau invites the State Party to submit detailed status reports on both projects, including outcomes of any EIAs prepared for these projects, to the Centre before 1 February 2002, in order to enable a comprehensive review of these two projects in relation to the conservation of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area at its twenty-sixth session of the Bureau in April 2002.”
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Detailed List of SOC reports
The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).