Nyangumarta Rangers completed a site survey and began weed control work in preparation for an Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) dedication ceremony near Eighty Mile Beach last month.
Rangelands NRM, with funding from the Australian Government 25th Anniversary Landcare Grant, supported the work, which is part of the Rangers’ training to manage their country.
Greening Australia Trainer, Volker Mischker said the group surveyed their ‘block’ and documented the range of birds and other fauna observed, as well as plant species, with a view to future weed control work.
“We had eight rangers attend, along with other community members, which allowed for good cultural exchange and knowledge sharing,” he said.
“The block is pretty much wall-to-wall Buffel Grass with a sprinkling of other species. We cleaned up the site with several loads of rubbish that had been building up for several years.”
Following the four-day training and work on Country, the rangers joined Nyangumarta Traditional Owners, Greening Australia and Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation (YMAC) representatives, neighbouring land Traditional Owners, and other dignitaries for the IPA dedication ceremony.
Rangelands NRM, Greening Australia and YMAC are working with Nyangumarta people to establish income opportunities and independence to establish a ranger program to look after Country. This combines meaningful Aboriginal employment with the fulfilment of cultural obligations by Traditional Owners.
An IPA is an area of land and/or sea over which Indigenous Traditional Owners have entered into a voluntary agreement with the Australian Government for the purposes of promoting biodiversity and cultural resource conservation.
In a media release issued by YMAC, Nyaparu Rose, CEO of Nyangumarta Warrarn Aboriginal Corporation said that while the official recognition of the Nyangumarta IPA had been a long process, it was worth it.
“As a Nyangumarta elder, I am very proud of this achievement for the Nyangumarta People. Having our IPA will allow us to maintain our significant sites, and look after our Country–from the desert to the sea,” she said.
The Nyangumarta Warrarn IPA covers about 28,420 km² and will be managed by the Nyangumarta Rangers according to International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) standards.
See maps of the determination area (courtesy Landgate).