Rangelands NRM Blog, News & Resources

Community groups unite to weed endangered Kimberley ecosystem

[February 2015]

A collaboration to manage the weeds threatening the Endangered Monsoon Vine Thickets of Cape Leveque, Kimberley, is bearing fruit.

Indigenous rangers, community volunteers, environmental and tourism groups joined forces to methodically tackle the invasive weeds smothering bush tucker and other culturally important plants at the Kooljaman Resort, a popular tourist destination.

Monsoon Vine Thickets are an eco-culturally rich network of vegetation patches on the Dampier Peninsula, covering less than 0.01 per cent of land area yet containing nearly 25 per cent of the plant species.

The Bardi Jawi Oorany Rangers (hosted by the Kimberley Land Council) along with Environs Kimberley and volunteers from the Society for Kimberley Indigenous Plants and Animals (SKIPA) were warmly welcomed by Kooljaman managers Adam and Claire to conduct weeding activities in mid-October.

This collaboration brought together the cultural expertise of the Bardi Jawi Oorany Rangers; the ecological expertise of Environs Kimberley; brute force from SKIPA volunteers; and strong support on location from Kooljaman Wilderness Camp.

This project feeds into a larger Monsoon Vine Thicket management project, hosted by Environs Kimberley and supported by Rangelands NRM through funding by the Australian Government.

Environs Kimberley also collaborates with the Bardi Jawi men’s Ranger group, Nyul Nyul Rangers and Yawuru Country Managers to protect and manage these endangered communities across their range.

As the efforts began to free plants from invasive weed species (including Coffee Bush, Neem trees, Stinking Passion Vine and Hairy Merremia), Bardi Jawi Oorany Ranger Bernadette Angus was relieved to see bush tucker trees she remembered from when she came to Cape Leveque as a child.

SKIPA volunteers were thrilled by the opportunity to weed at Kooljaman with the Bardi Jawi Oorany Rangers. Although weeding can be tough work, learning from Rangers Bernadette and Cissy and working in such a stunning place made it a memorable experience for volunteers.

Kooljaman Wilderness Camp management actively supports the strong Indigenous culture on the Peninsula and are keen to continue to improve the cultural health and natural values of the land where the camp is based.

This project provided a great opportunity for their staff to learn more about Monsoon Vine Thickets and invasive weed species. Kooljaman staff participated in a guided tour of the Monsoon Vine Thicket, led by the Rangers and Environs Kimberley staff, to discuss its cultural and ecological importance and find ways of working together to protect it.

Image:  Weed pulling team – Beau Bibby, Eden Bibby, Alison Morris, Ingrid Indriana, Cecilia Tigan, Bernadette Angus, Tessa Mossop, Carla Eisemberg, Philippa Girgin, Malcolm Lindsay, Ayesha Moss, Kylie Weatherall and Steve Reynolds, Image: Julia Rau