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Re: Future of dinosaur tracks in the west Kimberley, Western Australia

On this topic, a news feature in nature is available for reading: 

[sorry for the truncation last message]

From: Jay <jayp.nair@yahoo.com>
To: DML <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Sent: Thursday, 5 May 2011 1:40 PM
Subject: Future of dinosaur tracks in the west Kimberley, Western Australia

The following is forwarded on behalf of Steve Salisbury.

The future of one of the world's longest stretches of dinosaur tracksites along 
a section of coast in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, is a current 
concern among palaeobiologist/scientists and for the community locally. As 
well, this should also be a current issue for anybody with an interest in 
dinosaur science, education or preservation of heritage, so i believe readers 
of the DML will be very interested in this. 

Steve's message below outlines the issue in detail, so please read on. I urge 
DMLers to write to Tony Burke, the minister for the environment in Australia, 
because the issue is still live, although a decision will be made imminently. 
Sadly, proponents of development have greatly downplayed the significance of 
the tracks in the media. Therefore, it is vital that the government hears from 
all peoples interested before critical decisions are made.

Thank you in advance for your help!
Jay Nair,

Future of dinosaur tracks in the west Kimberley, Western Australia

The coastline of the Dampier Peninsula north of Broome in the west 
Kimberley preserves one the largest and most significant stretches of 
dinosaur footprints anywhere in the world. The dinosaur tracks occur in 
coastal exposure of the 130 million year old Broome Sandstone, over 80 
km of coastline from Broome to Cape Leveque. There are literally 
thousands of tracks representing as many as 15 different types of 
dinosaurs, some of which there is no other record for in Australia. 
 With the
the entire fossil record of dinosaurs in the western half of the 
Australian continent. Some of the sauropod tracks are up to 1.5m long, 
and belong to what may have been some of the largest animals to have 
ever walked the planet (Thulborn et al. 1994; Thulborn 2009). 

The Kimberley dinosaur tracks are an imp
included in the proposed National 
Heritage listing for the west Kimberley.  A final decision on National 
Heritage listing for the west Kimberley is due before the end of the 
June 2011.

In 2008, the State Government of Western Australia announced a proposal 
to exploit natural gas resources of the Browse Basin by installing a 
pipe-line and gas-processing plant in the region of James Price Point, 
on the western coast of the Dampier Peninsula. A large number of 
petroleum companies hold interests in the many gas fields of the Browse 
Basin. These include Woodside, BP, Chevron, BHP Billiton and Shell. 
 Dinosaur prints at James Price Point will be destroyed if the proposed 
LNG plant is allowed to go ahead (Siversson 2010). In addition, 
sand-dredging of channels and the construction of groynes, bulkheads and
breakwater structures associated with the LNG plant will result in the 
re-distribution of sand by longshore currents, which may further impact 
on dinosaur tracks on other parts of the Dampier Peninsula coastline.

A decision by the Federal Minister for the Environment Tony Burke on the
inclusion of the dinosaur tracks in a proposed National Heritage 
listing for the west Kimberley is now imminent, as is environment 
approval for the oil and gas industrial site at James Price Point to 
service the off-shore resources of the Browse Basin. It is imperative 
that we as palaeontologists voice our concern about this situation, and 
put pressure on the State Government of Western Australia, the Federal 
Government of Australia, and all or any of their corporate industrial 
partners who may be engaged in exploiting mineral resources of the 
Browse Basin. 

I urge you to write to Tony Burke and express 
s. It is important to realize that National 
Heritage listing and environmental approval for the LNG gas hub are 
separate issues.  National Heritage listing does not necessarily mean 
that the LNG gas hub will not go ahead.  However, it does affect the 
the effects of any 
development should it proceed.

We need Tony Burke to:

    1. Ensure that the dinosaur tracks in the Broome Sandstone on the Dampier 
Peninsula north of Broome are included in the proposed National Heritage 
listing for the west Kimberley; 
    2. Refuse environment approval for an oil and gas industrial site at James 
Price Point.

Address your letter to:

The Hon Tony Burke MP
Minister for the Environment
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600
email: Tony.burke.mp@aph.gov.au <mailto:Tony.burke.mp@aph.gov.au>  


Siversson, M. 2010. Preliminary Report upon the Palaeontology (including
Dinosaur Footprints) of the Broome Sandstone in the James Price Point 
Area, Western Australia. Document 60103995-0000-GE-REP-0009, Browse LNG SEA, 
prepared for the Department of State Development by AECOM Australia Pty Ltd. 
 January 2010, 14 pp.

Thulborn, T. 2009. Dinosaur Tracks of the Broome Sandstone, Dampier Peninsula, 
Western Australia - interim review. A report prepared for the Kimberley 
National HeritageAssessment, Natural & Indigenous Heritage Branch, Australian 
Federal Department of theEnvironment, Water, Heritage & the Arts. November 
2009, 25 pp.

Thulborn, T., T. Hamley, and P. Foulkes. 1994. Preliminary report on 
sauropod dinosaur tracks in the Broome Sandstone (Lower Cretaceous) of 
Western Australia. Gaia 10: 85-94.

Dr Steve Salisbury 
Vertebrate Palaeontology & Biomechanics Lab
School of Biological Sciences
The University of Queensland
Brisbane, Qld 4072, AUSTRALIA


Telephone: +61 (0)7 3365 8548
Facsimile: +61 (0)7 3365 1655
Mobile: +61 (0)407 788 660
Email: s.salisbury@uq.edu.au