The River Red Gum

Hello Koala lovers,

Thank you so much for the feedback on my last Diary about water. It shows that you are all on the page about the importance of water to us as humans, and the environment. I thought you might like to see a map I found in an ABC article which shows how all the catchments work when we recieve great rain.

Thank goodness it has been raining where I live and it would appear the monsoon may have arrived a little later than usual and that some rivers are starting to flow. It has however not solved all the problems of the bush.

I was out west again last week and took particular attention to both the Namoi and Mooki Rivers. I drove on and off for around 13 hours on this trip and I did not see one creek, overflow, or river that had any water.

Worse still, the banks of the rivers were in terrible condition and River Red Gums (which should look like this one), looked like sad and ageing sticks ready to die. These old elders were and still are so important to the bush; they have seen much in their lifetime – fires and droughts and have survived it all, until now.

It is hard to blame anyone in particular for this but seeing these beautiful giants dying has made me more determined to try and protect river systems. Koalas primarily need to eat leaves that are lush and juicy and that means trees right on the edge of healthy (and full) streams, creeks, billabongs and rivers. Over the last 250 years, we have allowed farm animals to degrade these systems and the result, particularly during a drought, is just shocking.

The only solution in many parts of the country is to fence them off permanently from all stock and that would upset a lot of people, but I think in due course it must be done. My view is that if your cattle and sheep need to drink rivers dry, then your business is not sustainable, particularly if rainfall (as predicted) reduces. I feel the same about industries that also have to take too much water from rivers for their crops, particularly cotton and rice. Unless our rivers are free to flow – then Australia is in trouble. 

The Koala Manifesto is being edited and I am the one dragging the chain on writing my bit, so it will be a little delayed I am afraid – but I am confident you are going to love it all and that it will help to convince our political leaders that we need a Koala Protection Act. (Donate $100.00 or more to receive your own personalized copy, signed by Deborah and the author. Let us know you have donated).

In haste as always and thank you so much for everything you do for the Koalas.