In the 2014 NSW Sate Budget provision was made for a dam on the Belubula River which would flood the Cliefden Caves.
Cliefden Caves are under threat of being drowned with a dam at the Needles Gap on the Belubula River. The NSW government has initiated a Scoping Study to examine the feasibility of building a water storage to attract industry including providing water for mines. Such a dam would flood the caves with important contents including habitat for threatened insectivorous bats and rare stygofauna.
There are more than 60 caves in the area. Several are large and extensive and very beautiful. The caves have been formed in Ordovician Limestone, which contains extensive internationally significant fossil deposits.
The caves are on a number of private properties and access is via a cooperative agreement between the owners and cavers. This access is administered through Orange Speleological Society Inc.
Currently we have a targeted fundraising Save Cliefden Caves Appeal. Funds will be used to campaign against construction of the dam. These funds are needed to conduct further research on the caves, to research bat use of the caves, to prepare material for use during the scoping study and to lodge objections to the proposed dam. This may result in legal challenges to stop a dam being built. Funds from this appeal will be provided to OSS Inc. who will involve the Save Cliefden Caves Committee in planning and spending on the campaign. It is too soon to know whether the campaign will need to resort to legal measures to prevent dam construction.
Preferred Donating To The Fund to this appeal should be by cheque, direct electronic funds transfer or via the PayPal facility on the Donating To The Fundpage. Send a donation form for receipting purposes to C/- Mrs Grace Matts 176 William Street Bankstown, NSW 2200 or Fax to Grace Matts (02) 9708 4594.
Honeycomb Cave Entrance Stabilization Project (2014) and stairway replacement at the lower entrance of Kubla Khan Cave. Members of Karstcare provided assistance with these works. Both of these sites are in Mole Creek National Park. This project was recently completed (September 2014). Report to appear soon. For more information download the report Honeycomb Cave Entrance Report
Mt Etna Ghost Bat Genetics Research on the Mt Etna ghost population is nearly complete. This has revealed the 2012-3 population was about 30 individual bats, which was substantiated by models based on the restricted genetic base revealed fro the laboratory genetic studies. The Mt Etna population does not interbreed with other populations of the ghost bat in Queensland. This low population is unsustainable. The population has seriously declined in numbers since quarrying destroyed a cave used for over-wintering. Various strategies are being considered to ensure the population's survival.
Scrubby Creek Cave Property Acquisition, at Murrindal, Victoria. The Fund supported the acquisition of this property by Rimstone Cooperative Ltd. Targeted donations amounted to over $90,000. This project is coming to its conclusion at present with residual funds to be used to quit personal loans for the purchase, to protect the tufa terraces where Scrubby Creek emerges from the cave and to prepare a Management Plan for the continued protection of the cave and the property.
Wombeyan (Melocco) Quarry Project This project is preparing 3D maps of the Melocco quarry for us preparing educational materials for this historic industrial site.