In the summer of 2022 marked fifty years since the water of the Serpentine Hydro impoundment swallowed the wide pink quartzite beach Lake Pedder: the wild heart of the Tasmania Wilderness World Heritage Area. This coincides with the start of the United Nations Decade of Ecological Restoration 2021 to 2030, the critical 10 year window in which humanity must massively upscale global action on restoration of degraded and destroyed ecosystems in order to halt the effects of climate change and restore biodiversity.
The high risk dams impounding Pedder, two of which are built on the Edgar Fault line, are set for millions in “strengthening” against seismic activity. Alternative to these works, it is time to decommissioning the dams, removing the risk altogether, and getting on with the inevitable restoration of Lake Pedder.
How will this be done?
To motivate the political decision to restore this natural wonder of the world, the Committee is undertaking strategic planning and research to:
- Make the case to show that the full ecological restoration of Lake Pedder is possible
- Build the community of supporters ready to take action to Restore Pedder
Restore Pedder : the case
Phase 1: Strategic Planning and Research
The Committee will provide stakeholders – Government, Hydro, community – with the best of science, design and expertise for an evidence-based pathway to Restore Pedder. The Committee has bought together experts from across Tasmania and internationally to undertake several streams of research to assess the impacts of the restoration for Tasmania as well as present scenarios on the dam removal.
Research streams include:
- Ecological Restoration Scoping and Impacts (completed 2020)
- Legal Framework Assessment (completed 2020)
- Engineering Scenarios (underway 2021)
- Energy Scenarios (underway 2021)
- Socio-Economics Assessment
- Tourism Master Plan Scoping Study (to be released mid 2023)
Read more below on our plans and progress in our research streams.
Phase 2: Develop the full Restoration Management Plan
The restoration of Lake Pedder will be one of the world’s largest ecosystem restoration projects. The Committee does not intend to lead or finance the detailed engineering works that will be needed to decommission the dams. The Committee will undertake the preliminary research and scoping to inform the development of a comprehensive Restoration Management Plan and as recommended by the IUCN World Conservation Congress. This first phase will be completed based on principles of:
- Engaging the best of science, design and expertise for evidence-based decision making
- Genuine community engagement and dialogue
- Cooperation with community, stakeholders and decision makers
- Valuing, protecting and restoring natural systems as well as natural and cultural heritage
- Enhancing the value of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area
- Supporting Tasmania’s 100% renewable energy target by 2022
Phase 3: Get agreement to restore Lake Pedder
International examples show us that dam removal and restoration of the ecosystem is possible. The studies and awareness raising done by the Lake Pedder Restoration Committee will show community and government that restoration is a possible, morally responsible and an achievable outcome to complement Tasmania’s renewable future.
Phase 4: Initiate Dam Decommission Process
Once a Government decision is agreed comprehensive development planning and decommission would be completed by Government with Hydro and relevant stakeholders based on the Restoration Management Plan.
Plans & Progress
Ecological Restoration Study – Completed October 2020
The restoration of Lake Pedder is a major infrastructure removal project in ecologically unique and sensitive environment. The Committee’s first priority is to understand the ecological impacts of dam removal and restoration. Early evidence and the science community indicate that a full ecological restoration is possible and feasible and we have a restoration ecologist appointed to understand and provide advice on this.
Read the all the reviews and fact sheets on the numerous biodiversity and social benefits of restoration, along with the dewatering scenarios at lakepedder.org/thescience
Restoration Ecologist Dr. Anita Wild was recruited in July 2019 to undertake the scientific scoping study that will be completed in March 2020. Dr. Wild is looking at what relevant studies have already been done or need updating and what additional research is needed. This is a vital first step in developing the Restoration Management Plan and having the most up to date evidence and timelines to show how this ecosystem will recover. Recruitment of Dr. Wild was possible thanks to the generous supporters in our first crowdfunding campaign (March to April 2019).
Restoration ecology is a professional science with international societies and International for Union for Conservation of Nature endorsed project guidelines. Read more about Dr. Anita Wild
Legal Advice from Environmental Defenders Office – Completed 2020.
The Environmental Defenders Office Tasmania has been recruited to work with Committee to provide legal advice.
Engineering Scenarios – Underway
A team of local and international engineers will develop preliminary engineering concepts to demonstrate decommissioning concepts, provide preliminary cost estimates, technical viability assessment and decommissioning schedule to be clear about the project viability and impacts to support full restoration of the Lake Pedder impoundment.
Energy Scenarios and Socio-Economic Impacts
The Committee is working with energy experts and economists to understand the impacts of removal of the Lake Pedder impoundment and its storage capacity from the Hydro scheme. Government and Hydro are making major decisions on our energy future and taking steps to create greater hydro capacity through pumped Hydro and increasing exports via proposed new interconnector cables. The Committee wants to have the restoration of Lake Pedder as part of Tasmania’s renewable energy future and is engaging with key stakeholders to stimulate planning on this vital priority. The Committee will explore and present alternative renewable energy scenarios for consideration to meet Tasmania’s renewable energy needs as well as understand the economic impacts of on water, tourism, jobs and community.
Tasmania – the low-impact renewable energy leader
More than 90% of Tasmania’s electricity is from renewable sources. Tasmania will be one of the first economies in the world to achieve 100% renewable energy with tri-party commitment to this by 2022. Tasmania global reputation is centered on being ‘clean and green’. Tasmania’s energy system should serve the needs of Tasmanians first and foremost (energy reliability, affordability and equity of access) and any expansions should be done centered on minimising environmental impact, valuing, protecting and restoring natural systems and wilderness and for the benefit of the Tasmanian community, businesses and economy. The restoration of Lake Pedder can be a demonstration on how to achieve a renewable energy future, restore our wild places and have a strong process to engage our community.
Who is leading the campaign?
The Lake Pedder Restoration Committee, convened by Christine Milne with support from Todd Dudley, Bob Brown, Paul Thomas and more is committed to getting agreement to pull the plug and restore the original Lake Pedder and surrounding iconic ecosystems. Read more about the Committee.
Get behind the campaign to Restore Pedder
“Our Tasmanian environmental campaigns are only ever won with the support of our community.” Christine Milne
It is imperative that we have the support of the Tasmanian, Australian and international community to Restore Pedder. Your support and action will be vital to get the political decisions to happen. To build our community, the Committee is coordinating a range of events, activities, exhibitions and dialogues to share the stories of original Pedder and discuss issues relevant to why the restoration of Lake Pedder is critical for Tasmania.
A major highlight of our campaign is our annual Paddle for Pedder where kayakers around the world embark on an adventure on their local waterways to raise a banner calling to Restore Pedder.
Small Pedder supporters groups are popping up in cities across the country, from Melbourne to Canberra, Darwin and of course Hobart and Launceston. If you would like to connect with people in your area, or start a group please reach out to us at email@example.com
Find out how you can Get Involved
Check out our upcoming Events
Got an idea? We want to connect nature lovers and adventurers – young and old – in the restoration movement and ready to take action to protect and restore our wild places. If you have ideas or want to host an event in your area to create awareness of Pedder, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Header Image Credit : David Neilson