The War on Willows

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duane
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The War on Willows

Postby duane » Thu Dec 09, 2010 8:01 pm

CSIRO have just published this claptrap. Water savings from willow removal (Media Release) http://www.csiro.au/news/Water-savings- ... moval.html

You need to read the csiro media release first and then read Peter's response.



This is a copy of Peter Andrews response.

To: Tanya Doody Tanya.Doody@csiro.au


I read with interest the results of your recently published work on willow removal.

I notice that the focus of the work was monospecific....looking at the volumes of water taken out of the river flows by willows.

I also note, that this research was funded jointly by the Commonwealth and State Governments of NSW and Victoria....as they have a direct policy influence via the WONS Legislation and the huge multi-million dollar taxpayer funding program for willow removal.

For historical context, this recent work is simply a repeat of the work done years earlier by Kurt Kremer of CSIRO, which was, as I understand it, the basis for the present eradication program. It to, was narrowly focused reductionism. It would seem to me that the present research is simply an approach to willows information in order to feed the Government's policy that their removal is having a cost benefit to the community and the environment.

I contend that this is totally false, misleading and erroneous misinformation, not to mention poor science.

I also notice, that in this article you conclude by saying “However, if the net overall benefit of willow removal from creeks and streams is to be properly evaluated, the various other benefits and disadvantages of removal must also be understood and included in decision making,”

Where is the research CSIRO are doing into this part of the equation?? Clearly, it is lacking, or if it is there, it is NOT being bought forward because it doesn't fit the funding criteria, which is for their removal.

Here is just a little intro to balance this debate with some scientifically validated benefits:

Willows are the worlds top riparian plants. And there is a massive amount of data to support that statement.

As a starting point...... Water, matter and energy are the three basic requirements for any ecosystem to thrive.

Studies of natural processes in a central European virgin forest have brought us an understanding of how nature closes the cycles of water and matter and evenly dissipates the incoming solar energy that runs processes. (Ripl)

As a result, climatic events, such as precipitation, runoff and temperature, are evenly distributed in time and irreversible matter losses remain low. By minimising matter losses nature prolongs its life-span, i.e. enhancing its sustainability.

When compared to agricultural landscapes, we can reveal the main mistakes of human interference with natural processes that lead to the opening of cycles, bringing about high irreversible matter losses.

Investigations have shown that areal matter losses measured in agricultural catchments in Europe and Australia (see Dr Michael Wilson's work) are some 50–100 times higher than those from unmanaged land in a virgin forest. As matter losses are mainly connected to water run off, every disturbance to the hydrological regime has a vital impact on landscape sustainability.

Extensive drainage, including that of wetlands and transformation of rivers into drainage channels, has such a negative impact.

Humans have greatly modified the natural forms of most large rivers – constraining them into straightened river channels and cutting them off from their floodplains by impoundments. The lowering of the groundwater table and the drainage of a large number of wetlands has led to a serious impoverishment of the landscape with respect to surface water bodies and water-saturated soils. Whilst the restoration of individual wetland sites has been attempted for more than 40 years now, there are hardly any restored wetland sites that would be sustainable in the long term without further intervention – because of the negative impacts caused by unsustainable land use within their catchments. Willow removal being a major one.

This information brings forward the argument that for greater landscape sustainability it is essential to restore and return more wetlands plant systems (inc willows) as well as natural vegetation cover, to the landscape to restore natural dynamics to rivers and streams.

The following criteria should be used to assess the sustainability of willows:
    It's potential for solar energy dissipation
    and water and matter recycling within the smallest delimited area, such as a catchment or sub-catchment.
    A greater understanding of the ecological values associated with retention of materials, energy and nutrients in streams would compliment hydrological studies found in natural sequence systems and help shift public policy and perceptions away from simplistic approaches to willows management.

I believe, this recent work has simply been too narrowly focused to fit the Governments funding regime and fails in its duty of care as good, science to look more holistically at the larger picture.

A few of the Willows positive effects include:

[*]modifying diurnal temperature via evapotranspiration....and absorbing radiant heat. 1 Willow is equivalent to 28 reverse cycle air conditioners
[*]reduce evaporation by shading the river
[*]reduced evapotranspiration because they are deciduous for 3-5 months
[*]prevent water losses to the system by slowing velocities and preventing both stream banks and instream erosion.
[*]willows replicate the role once played by reed bed wetlands and mimic and perform a similar role re-instating landscape function
[*]increased the fertility of the wetland system by capturing and storing Carbon, the leaf litter is nor toxic to native fish like some native species (red river gums)
[*]retaining sediment in the system
[*]retaining organic matter in the system
[*]refugia for fish, platypus, crustaceans etc
[*]filtering water and thereby
improving water quality
[*]acting as primary colonisers to stabilize and secure the stream bed and banks for the secondary colonisers....mainly natives inc Casuarinas etc.
[*]recycling the daily water cycle and preventing water losses from the system (the opposite to what your research shows)
[*]etc etc
[*]“However, if the net overall benefit of willow removal from creeks and streams is to be properly evaluated, the various other benefits and disadvantages of removal must also be understood and included in decision making,”

By removing willows we are causing the disruption of all of the above positive benefits.

CSIRO could have potentially 50 years of research here looking at ALL of the above positive examples BUT where would they get the funding from??

Certainly not from the Commonwealth and State Governments of NSW and Victoria. So it seems best to continue to focus on the negative to ensure funding supply. What other conclusion is there??

Governments fund research with public monies to produce an outcome for the public good. However, this willow trough is so big and so full of money, that many have their heads well in the trough, including CSIRO and the Willows Task Force.

The present flooding across much of the eastern half of the country is causing enormous losses of water, sediment, nutrient and organic matter losses to the sea. We are losing our national assets and our environmental capital in the billions everyday. Willows would help us to retain that. Surely, as a EcoHydrologist it is important to see and present, the bigger picture.

I have been in touch with the Federal Department overseeing this willow legislation, to try and get some balance into the whole willows debate, in order to show "if the net overall benefit of willow removal from creeks and streams is to be properly evaluated, the various other benefits and disadvantages of removal must also be understood and included in decision making".

Your help and assistance to achieve this objective, scientific outcome would be most welcomed.

P.S.
I have been trying to bring this important information, based on the best science available and to bring it to the people of this country for over 30 years. I would welcome the opportunity to work together, bringing the best scientists with the best information to the table. I would hope that we could do this under a banner of honesty, integrity and co-operation.



Peter Andrews

ghosta
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Re: The War on Willows

Postby ghosta » Thu Dec 09, 2010 9:14 pm

Peter may have a point to make, but my guess is it will be lost in his diatribe attacking the CSIRO and its motives. A carefully crafted, concise and logical response woud serve his purpose better in my opinion.

duane
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Re: The War on Willows

Postby duane » Thu Dec 09, 2010 9:31 pm

Ghosta

Can you draft one of your more eloquent diatribes and post it here???

I promise you it will get to Megan Clark......if it's any good.

Angela Helleren
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Re: The War on Willows

Postby Angela Helleren » Fri Dec 10, 2010 2:56 am

Duane, I noted from the CSIRO article, it was to be submitted to this Journal for peer review. It appears 5th in the list.

http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journa ... escription

I would suggest Peter write directly to the Editor of the Journal, A.L. Gill, pointing out Tanya Dooly's important last statement in the CSIRO article.

“However, if the net overall benefit of willow removal from creeks and streams is to be properly evaluated, the various other benefits and disadvantages of removal must also be understood and included in decision making,” Ms Doody said.

By her own words it's not a proper evaluation. :roll:

Note at the top of page-

The Journal of Environmental Management is a journal for the publication of peer reviewed, original research for all aspects of management and the managed use of the environment, both natural and man-made. Critical review articles are also welcome; submission of these is strongly encouraged. :wink:
Many hands make light work.
Unfortunately, too many hands stirring anti clockwise, has spoiled mother natures recipe.
Back to basics.

duane
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Re: The War on Willows

Postby duane » Fri Dec 10, 2010 7:38 am

Angela

Thank you for that information and for your excellent post.

When ghosta prepares his reply (see above) we will send it in to the Journal, for the critical review process.

ghosta
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Re: The War on Willows

Postby ghosta » Fri Dec 10, 2010 8:13 am

Angela I followed your link and found they wanted money for a copy of the original paper. Did you access it?

Was the aim of the paper to study the "nett benefit of willow removal from creeks and streams."? If so, then your suggestion that its not a propper evaluation would certainly be true.

But from the abstract, which I was able to read, she conducted an "..... investigation of their evapotranspiration rates and quantification of potential water savings from willow removal". This is a much narrower investigation. Unless you have information from the full paper to the contrary, it does not appear to me that she claims to have made a study of the "nett benefit of willow removal from creeks and streams".

Duane, I dont have access to the full paper so cannot comment on it. I certainly would not respond with a "diatribe" (look up the definition). Nor do I pretend to have the expertise to conduct a critical review http://www.bcl.hamilton.ie/~barak/how-to-review.html

You seem to have missed the point of my post. Peter Andrews is a strong advocate of NSF based on his work on various farms. He has strong views on the use of willows, based on his experience. My view is that his efforts to get his message across to the CSIRO in this instance are not likely to meet with any sucess- starting out by attacking the CSIROs motives is likely to put those from the organisation offside straight away, and I doubt they will give his views any weight- thats if they even bother to try to read it.

As an observation, I do not believe this will help him get the NSF message out to mainstream Australia, I think there are better ways, including a "a carefully crafted, concise and logical response". My view is that a more effective tactic is to persuade people rather than attack them.

duane
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Re: The War on Willows

Postby duane » Fri Dec 10, 2010 9:17 am

Ghosta

This conversation is starting to look positive.

Firstly, diatribe = a bitter, abusive denunciation.
To date you have been an expert at that.

But, surprisingly you have made a number of really good observations in this post.

Let me just provide a little more background to help people understand the reason for this line of attack.

Note 1. The heading: War on Willows. Not Tea Party conversation about willows. WAR.

We have just been to Tooma to witness the catastrophic destruction of the Tooma valley by a recent flood and collapse of Mannus Dam (google it).

What the press has not told or informed its readers about is the fact that below Mannus Dam the NPWS removed a 10km stretch of willows along the section of Mannus Ck that flowed thru the park. They poisoned, cut and left ALL the willow debris in the park on the banks.

Guess what happened next???

The rain came.

Then the flooding followed.

Then the earthern dam wall holding back the artifical manmade Lake Mannus collapsed and released a torrent of water downstream.

A tsunami of water rushed thru the National Park.

It picked up all the dead willows, thousands of tonnes of them and sent them hurtling down to the Tooma valley.

Residents awoke to the sound of an impending holocaust.

!00 yr old red river gums snapped like matchsticks under the force of the willow battering rams. The once beautiful Mannus Creek was ripped apart.

The devastation inthe valley was unimaginable !!

Meanwhile the Tumba Creek which carried its own flood, survived in tact. No willows had been removed from it.

The contrast between Mannus Creek and Tumba Creek was STARK.

And now guess what, the Council have just received $40,000 from the Australian Government to clear willows from the Tumba Creek !!!!

I guess talk is cheap. Resonsibility for all this lies with the Government WONS policy. CSIRO are accessories before and after the fact.

Note No 2. Every authority is denying responsibility for this....not our fault said the council, or ours said NPWS....or ours said the CMA....or ours said the State and Federal Govts. Who is responsible??? I put it to you that a blind man on a galloping horse could see.

Next fact, the Willows Task Force call their people who remove willows....'Willows Warriors'.

They call willows nasty, invasive plants....they claim a war on willows.

We are coming to defend the willows. It's war mate....... make no mistake.

So ghosta. Which side are you on???

BTW....there are no fences in this war.....they were also all washed away with the flooding willows.

matto
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Re: The War on Willows

Postby matto » Fri Dec 10, 2010 10:28 am

G'day Duane,
Have you made any contact with David Holmgren about this matter. I believe he would support your cause and is also well informed.
I could send a message to him through a contact, although I don't think he would mind a direct call from NSF.

ghosta
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Re: The War on Willows

Postby ghosta » Fri Dec 10, 2010 11:04 am

Duanne your attempt at ridiculing other posters who demonstrate flaws in your posts doesnt seem to be working. Im still here.

Can you explain why the incident you related is in any way connected to the research done by Ms Doddy? They both involve willows...is that fact REALLY enough to subject her research to ridicule?

Let me present you with an analagy which may help you sort this out in your mind. Lets say a Ms Diddy researced rats and found there were benefits in getting rid of them. A rat exterminator fumigated a warehouse while there was someone sleeping inside who was affected by the rat poison. Ms Diddy knew nothing about the rat poisoning program, made no suggestions on how to get rid of rats, and logicaly can take no blame for the incident. Or do you see it as all her fault and her research on rats should be ridiculed?

duane
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Re: The War on Willows

Postby duane » Fri Dec 10, 2010 12:01 pm

Matto

I read with interest some years ago (2005) a book authored by David Holmgren (title I forget) and in it he had a large section on willows.

He quoted at the time the work of Dr Michael Wilson from Uni of Ballarat. Michael had done his PhD on willow infected streams around Bendigo and Ballarat.

He spent 13 years supervising more research on willows.

I got in touch with Michael....he was then at the MDBA.....

I emailed DH and thanked him for the book reference....that was in 2006.

Michael agreed with Peter re willows and he is supporting our present and ongoing stand on willows.

Sorry Ghosta, you must have found a fence. Sounds like it's barbed wire one.

sceptic
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Re: The War on Willows

Postby sceptic » Fri Dec 10, 2010 12:07 pm

duane wrote: We have just been to Tooma to witness the catastrophic destruction of the Tooma valley by a recent flood and collapse of Mannus Dam (google it).

What the press has not told or informed its readers about is the fact that below Mannus Dam the NPWS removed a 10km stretch of willows along the section of Mannus Ck that flowed thru the park. They poisoned, cut and left ALL the willow debris in the park on the banks.

Guess what happened next???

The rain came.

Then the flooding followed.

Then the earthern dam wall holding back the artifical manmade Lake Mannus collapsed and released a torrent of water downstream.

A tsunami of water rushed thru the National Park.

It picked up all the dead willows, thousands of tonnes of them and sent them hurtling down to the Tooma valley.

Residents awoke to the sound of an impending holocaust.

!00 yr old red river gums snapped like matchsticks under the force of the willow battering rams. The once beautiful Mannus Creek was ripped apart.

The devastation inthe valley was unimaginable !!

Meanwhile the Tumba Creek which carried its own flood, survived in tact. No willows had been removed from it.

The contrast between Mannus Creek and Tumba Creek was STARK.



.


Getting past the hyperbole, an earthen dam on Mannus Creek collapsed, the dam was above where the willows had been removed, the collapse of the dam had nothing to do with the removal of willows downstream, the issue is why did the dam collapse? Did a dam on Tumba Creek collapse? If not then how can you compare the damage?
The truth is out there.

ghosta
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Re: The War on Willows

Postby ghosta » Fri Dec 10, 2010 12:26 pm

duane wrote:
Sorry Ghosta, you must have found a fence. Sounds like it's barbed wire one.


Instead of attempting to post insults, why dont you simply answer my question?

duane
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Re: The War on Willows

Postby duane » Fri Dec 10, 2010 12:28 pm

Because Ghosta, unlike you, I believe that sometimes "it is far better to remain silent and thought a fool, then, to speak out and remove all doubt".

ghosta
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Re: The War on Willows

Postby ghosta » Fri Dec 10, 2010 1:01 pm

For those interested in this subject I have found an article which explains why willows were removed.

http://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&sourc ... Qw&cad=rja

Some case studies on willow eradication

http://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&sourc ... yw&cad=rja

Shirley Henderson
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Re: The War on Willows

Postby Shirley Henderson » Fri Dec 10, 2010 2:24 pm

Image


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