Rangelands NRM Blog, News & Resources

Next phase in Ngurrawaana Ranger partnership underway

[December 2013]

The Ngurrawaana Rangers have signed a new agreement with Rangelands NRM to continue work to control the weed Parkinsonia in the Fortescue River catchment.

This activity is part of the on-ground weeds action in the Pilbara Corridors, Fortescue Catchment Project and work will be undertaken on the Leramugadu Lease which is leased by the Ngurrawaana Group Aboriginal Corporation from the Water Corporation, and which surrounds the Ngurrawaana community in the lower Fortescue River catchment.

Rangelands NRM Program Manager (Pilbara) Dr Bill Cotching said the rangers will include elders in on-ground monitoring and planning work focused on the management and the implementation of Parkinsonia control.

“Parkinsonia is a Weed of National Significance that is a threat to native species and is prevalent in the Fortescue River Catchment adjacent to the Millstream – Chichester National Park,” he said.

Previous work on managing Parkinsonia on the Fortescue was completed in June 2013 which saw the Ranger Team control Parkinsonia along 3 km of the Fortescue River covering an area of over 150 hectares.
Dr Cotching said on several reconnaissance trips further downstream, large infestations of Parkinsonia were noted and it was decided to tackle these heavy infestations first and then to progressively move onto less densely infested areas.

“The access into these riverine thickets was a challenge and so a smaller area of treatment was achieved than originally planned,” Dr Cotching said.
A site inspection of the treated area a few months after the conclusion of the project found that many of the treated stumps had re-sprouted and there were many seedlings that had emerged.
“It is a priority that this regrowth and seedlings be treated first to maintain the investment in the original treatment,” Dr Cotching said.

This new project will re-treat this primary area and then continue treatment of Parkinsonia upstream of the previously treated area.

The Rangers will also collect spatial data with GPS and data loggers that will be supplied on a regular basis to the Pilbara Mesquite Management Committee (PMMC) for collation and interpretation.
Significant investment in strategic on-ground control of Parkinsonia has occurred across many pastoral leases in the Pilbara infested with Parkinsonia.
“Each year coordinated activities in the region achieve a greater level of control as skills and strategies on how to approach and deliver weed control programs are adapted and prove successful,” Dr Cotching said.

The Fortescue River catchment in Western Australia’s Pilbara region is the focus of a five-year project funded by the Federal government’s Biodiversity Fund to protect and improve existing native vegetation and manage threats to biodiversity.

Rangelands NRM and the Pilbara Mesquite Management Committee (PMMC) have been actively partnering to regionally coordinate and manage Parkinsonia in the Pilbara since 2007. The work is undertaken to stop the spread of weeds, reduce their current impact and protect our special places.

The impacts of weeds are well known they destroy landscape habitats, reduce biodiversity of fauna and flora, hinder pastoral production, alter soil properties, weaken soil structure and impact negatively on Indigenous and European heritage connections to the land.

Rangelands NRM has had a capacity building relationship with the Ngurrawaana community for seven years and this current project has been developed with the community Elders and the Rangers.

The Ngurrawaana community comprises local Aboriginal people dedicated to documenting, recording and living their culture. Ngurrawaana is an alcohol-free community that lies in Yindjibarndi country and its residents wish to live and work on country.

Photo: Dr Bill Cotching from Rangelands NRM and Phil Davies from Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation sign a caring for country agreement that will see 300 days of work provided to the Ngurrawaana Rangers.