Rangelands NRM Blog, News & Resources

Continued support to manage desert country

Media Release

16 September 2015

A new project will support continued management of the WA desert country across the Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs) of Birriliburu and Kiwirrkurra.

Central Desert Native Title Service (CDNTS) are continuing to work with ranger teams to protect cultural and biodiversity values with support from Rangelands NRM through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.

Rangelands NRM Program Manager (Desert & Pilbara) Chris Curnow said Traditional Owners from the desert country of Birriliburu and Kiwirrkurra IPAs will continue working to support rare and threatened fauna including the crest-tail mulgara, greater bilby and the greater desert skink.

“Desert land managers are increasingly being recognised for the huge role they play in maintaining connection to Country in Outback Australia,” Mr Curnow said.

Traditional Owners for Kiwirrkurra and Birriliburu native title determinations were given Indigenous Protected Area status for their Country in September 2014 and April 2013 respectively.

“Through combining traditional knowledge with contemporary science, IPA management work will continue to concentrate on reinstating traditional cool mosaic patch burning practices, feral animal control and a program of survey and monitoring of impacts upon natural and cultural areas listed as priority assets,” he said.

Mr Curnow said the project will help to deliver employment and empower Indigenous skills and futures.

“Traditional Owners are working with partner organisations to protect country and pass on knowledge through land management programs,” he said.

This will strengthen their capacity to deliver strong environmental and social outcomes across special lands now recognised with IPA status. Traditional owners are already involved in a variety of partnerships to bring much needed resources to these under-funded regions.

A national collaboration ‘Bush Blitz’ will undertake an intensive scientific biodiversity survey on Kiwirrkurra Country this month, and other collaborations with the likes of Telstra, Desert Discovery, Bush Heritage Australia and State NRM will assist Traditional Owners to further manage the Birriliburu and Kiwirrkurra IPAs.

Central Desert’s General Manager -Land and Community, Rob Thomas said known and potential habitat locations of nationally-listed threatened fauna species such as the greater bilby, the great desert skink and the crest-tailed mulgara, will be managed to minimise key threats to habitat and population viability.

“Threat abatement activities will include fire management, introduced predator/herbivore control and identification and monitoring of threaten species habitats,” Mr Thomas said.

CDNTS have worked in partnership with Rangelands NRM for over five years.

“This project builds on the ‘Keeping Desert Country Healthy’ which supported the Birriliburu people working in the Little Sandy Desert,” Mr Curnow said.

“We then received support for work with Kiwirrkurra on Gibson and Great Sandy Deserts country,” he said.

Mr Thomas said there are great outcomes resulting from this long-term partnership.

“We have increased viability of habitat for threatened species as well as increased capacity of Traditional Owners to manage their Country,” he said.

This work is also fostering inter-generational knowledge exchange and providing training and skills development, all through on-country doing and training.




Kiwirrkurra Rangers have started a Certificate in Conservation and Land Management, delivered by Batchelor Institute. In June they undertook fire and safety training. (©CDNTS)

Rangelands NRM

Rangelands NRM WA is a not for profit, non-aligned, community-based group which aims to enhance the sustainable management of the WA rangelands through facilitation, collaboration and delivering outcomes. It is the largest of the 56 NRM regions in Australia, covering around 85 per cent (2,266,000 sq km) of the WA State’s land mass, and 75 per cent of the coastline. http://www.rangelandswa.com.au


Teresa Belcher, Communications Manager
Rangelands NRM, WA
Tel: 08 9468 5250
Mobile: 0488 594324
Email: teresab@rangelandswa.com.au