Conservation groups are critical of the draft plan governing the parks of western KI, saying it is light on detail and has too many varied parks lumped together.
They also urge concerned community members to review the plan and make comment by the December 17 deadline.
Department for Environment and Water says the Parks of Western and Central Kangaroo Island Draft Management Plan outlines the direction for the long-term management and recovery of parks and wilderness protection areas following the fires.
The draft plan includes the following 15 parks:
- National Parks - Flinders Chase
- Conservation Parks - Kelly Hill, Lathami, Mt Taylor, Parndana, Seal Bay, Seddon, Vivonne Bay, Beyeria and Cape Gantheaume
- Wilderness Protection Areas - Cape Bouguer, Cape Gantheaume, Cape Torrens, Ravine des Casoars and Western River.
Friends of Parks KI Western Districts has submitted a six-point document outlining its concerns, including its view that too many parks are lumped into one very brief and generalised management plan.
The group's full six-point submission can be read below.
Fraser Vickery from KI Eco-Action has additional concerns about cutting up wilderness protection areas into blocks to create fire breaks that in his view would not be effective in halting a fire.
"Their fire management strategy is not based on science and there has been no Aboriginal burning here for 2300 years. hence the biodiversity we have evolved without Aboriginal fire," Mr Vickery said.
Rather than internal fire roads and breaks that would be less than effective, he suggested having larger fire breaks around the whole wilderness protected areas.
A department spokesperson said the draft management plan provided a more strategic approach, to ensure delivery can be more adaptable to the challenges and opportunities that evolve over time.
The 44-page document Parks of Western and Central Kangaroo Island Draft Management Plan details the proposed changes.
As part of the YourSAy consultation all stakeholders have been asked to provide feedback on the management plan before the consultation ends on December 17.
In consideration of COVID-19 public health directions, the consultation did not include any public meetings.
Friends of Parks KI Western Districts submission
Six key concerns about the Parks of Western and Central Kangaroo Island Draft Management Plan 2021:
- Too many parks are lumped into one very brief and generalised management plan which means it fails to do justice to any of the 15 parks and areas it covers. The management directions are too broad and lack detail. Evidence of this shows in the inadequate maps and minimum References that are provided. See Draft Plan pg 2 and pgs 28-41.
- Management priorities are tourism rather than conservation driven. The over-riding purpose of these parks is conservation, and all management actions should flow from and reinforce this. Management priorities should emphasise maintaining and valuing the plants and animals and large unbroken extent of habitat in the parks and WPAs. See Draft Plan Para 1 pg 1, Para 1 pg 7, Page 10 Dot Point 5.
- Zoning/development areas are unclear and open-ended giving minimum direction as to where development activities can take place. There are only two zones - intensive Visitor Use Zones and everywhere else, where 'low impact activities' such as campgrounds, toilets, picnic areas etc. can be placed anywhere in the entire park estate (outside of WPAs) without restrictions. The plan lacks accurate and detailed maps of proposed infrastructure and its location. See Draft Plan pgs 3, 16, 18 and pgs 28-38.
- Management of threats to biodiversity Why does the plan consider approving the possible introduction of commercial European honeybee hives into parks where the primary purpose is conservation of species and ecosystems? European honeybees plunder native floral resources needed by a whole host of native bird, mammal and insect species, feral swarms take over scarce nesting hollows in trees, and are dangerous to humans. There is inadequate information about pest plant and animal species management. See Draft Plan pg 12.
- Fire management philosophy Unexamined assumptions are made about the inherent value of regular prescribed burning, without the underlying information on the impact of such burning on the ecology and biodiversity. Western KI is genuinely unique and not appropriate for generic fire practices based on conditions and long-term histories assumed to operate on the mainland. See Draft Plan pgs 20-21.
- Preservation of wilderness quality and the potential destruction of wilderness by cutting the Ravine WPA up into management blocks. Large areas of habitat are best able to withstand impacts associated with pest plants, animals and diseases and the impacts of climate change compared with small, isolated areas. Wilderness values outside Wilderness Protection Areas do not appear to rate highly in proposed management planning. See Draft Plan Draft Plan Para 1 pg 1, Dot Point 7 pg 10, pg 14.
The Parks plans this draft plan replaces the following existing plans and amendments:
- Seal Bay and Cape Gantheaume Conservation Parks Management Plan (DEHAA 1977)
- Beyeria and Lathami Conservation Parks Management Plan 1992 (DEP 1992)
- Seal Bay Conservation Park Management Plan -Amendment to Plan of Management (DENR 1993)
- Flinders Chase National Park, Kelly Hill Conservation Park, Ravine des Casoars Wilderness Protection Area and Cape Bouguer Wilderness Protection Area Management Plans (DEHAA 2000)
- Cape Torrens and Western River Wilderness Protection Areas Management Plans (DEH 2006)
- Flinders Chase National Park, Kelly Hill Conservation Park, Ravine des Casoars Wilderness Protection Area and Cape Bouguer Wilderness Protection Area Management Plans Amendment (DEWNR 2017).
This plan alone ( the 1999 version - the amendment allowed the Wilderness trail and campsites) comprises 80 pages for four parks.