Rangelands NRM Blog, News & Resources

Healthy Country Plan underway for Spinifex Community

[February 2014]

A new project has commenced to assist the Spinifex community in the Great Victorian Desert to create a Healthy Country Plan.

The plan will identify management strategies and actions for threatened species including Malleefowl (Leipoa ocellata) and the Southern Marsupial Mole (Notoryctes typhlops) both currently and historically known to occur within Spinifex Country.

The Pila Nguru Aboriginal Corporation has received funding from Rangelands NRM through the Caring for Our Country Federal funding.

General Manager of Pila Nguru, Ian Baird said the work will develop the NRM capacity of the Spinifex people to manage threatened species and other environmental values.

“The Spinifex Community has been involved in many community-initiated environmental projects over the last decade,” Mr Baird said.

“These projects have gained increasing momentum over the last three years and have led to Spinifex People driving development of the Spinifex Land Management Program, including this project.”

The Spinifex Healthy Country Plan will articulate long-held aspirations for land management, and management of natural and cultural values, such as threatened species, and inter-generational transfer of cultural knowledge for Spinifex Country.

“This project will link with the Spinifex Ranger Program by delivering training in fauna survey and monitoring techniques to enable data collection to inform on-ground management actions,” Mr Baird said.

Liam Mulcahy, who currently works with Pila Nguru, will take up the position of  Ranger Coordinator in April, to manage project logistics, facilitate community and Pila Nguru Ranger involvement, and organise training.

Pila Nguru will also employ a consultant to facilitate the Healthy Country Planning Process.

The threatened species component of the project will focus on the Wanna Lakes area of the Great Victorian Desert on the Western Australia/South Australia border, approximately 600 kms due east of Laverton.

“Both Malleefowl and the Southern Marsupial Mole are listed under the EPBC Act as Vulnerable and Endangered respectively,” Mr Baird said.

Mr Baird said potential habitat also exists for Great Desert Skink, Greater Bilby, Sandhill Dunnart, Black-footed Rock Wallaby and Mulgara.

“While it is beyond the scope of this project to target all species, opportunistic recordings are possible,” he said.

Image: Spinifex elder, Ned Grant, drinking from the Upi water pool which formed after the big rains in 2011. The man in the background is Lawrence Pennington. Upi is 50km north east of Wanna Lakes and will come within the target area. Another Spinifex elder, Richard Brooks is the traditional owner for Upi. He was born there in about 1952. (© Pila Nguru)