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Byron Shire
March 1, 2021

Endangered snail crushed by bypass

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John Lazarus, Convener BEC

In 2001, a National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) ‘have you seen this snail’ advert was about a Byron Bay snail identified as a Mitchells Rainforest Snail.

Apart from a colony on a Tweed River island, little was known of this snail, except that the once-widespread snail was now largely locally extinct. It is listed as critically endangered. Since the ad Byron locals have recorded further sightings with NPWS.

Virtually all snail sightings have been recorded in, and on the periphery of, the Cumbebin Wetland where the Byron Bay ‘bypass’ is proposed to be built.

Globally there’s an extinction crisis. In Australia we have a wildlife extinction crisis of our unique species. Our Shire is the one of the last habitats for this critically endangered snail.

The snail has only survived where its habitat remains undeveloped and unpolluted, and where vegetated access remains across the landscape. We’ve done well, till now.

The governance of this species’ capacity to survive is significantly this Shires responsibility. The Tweed River island colony is at risk from climate change.

The bypass will both destroy wetland snail habitat and form an elevated rock-base road barrier isolating its habitat. The road’s polluted runoff will further sabotage the snails’ habitat.

The bio-banking assessment fails to state that the region contains only a few isolated recorded colonies, of which the Cumbebin Wetlands appears to be the most significant.

Councillors, the Byron Environment Centre (BEC) joins the calls to reassess support for the Byron bypass.

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