The recent signing of a funding agreement for a Ranger Coordinator at Tom Price is the first step in the establishment of a Ranger Team that will focus on the management of key threatened fauna species and priority biodiversity assets in the area.
Rangelands NRM, with funding from the Australian Government, are embarking on an exciting new two year partnership with the Gumala Aboriginal Corporation (GAC) to promote the establishment of the Aboriginal Ranger team.
Anthony Ryan, General Manager – Operations at GAC anticipates that the partnership will ensure that local Aboriginal Rangers can realise aspirations for getting back to their traditional country, passing on their knowledge and culture to younger generations and to actively work on country to make it healthy.
“Sustained employment with appropriate training will provide the community-based Aboriginal Rangers regular work, income, and the opportunity to manage their traditional lands that will give them a sense of self-worth and the economic ability to maintain an appropriate lifestyle in the Pilbara rangelands,” Mr Ryan said.
Rangelands NRM Program Manager (Pilbara), Dr Bill Cotching said discussions have been held with Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW) in Karratha about integration of a Ranger Team into activity on Karijini National Park and the concept has been received enthusiastically.
“A current model for this partnership exists as Rangelands NRM has been facilitating the development of a Ranger Team with the Ngurrawaana Community over a number of years,” Dr Cotching said.
These Rangers are becoming a committed and enthusiastic Team that is undertaking work on country to control weeds, improve facilities at their Community and provide services to the Department of Parks and Wildlife on Millstream Chichester National Park.
The Ngurrawaana Ranger Team has a mix of permanent and part-time Indigenous ranger positions and provide a model of how successful such a Team can be and also what is required to make the Team operational.
Rangelands NRM has found that the employment of a Ranger Coordinator is critical to the success of a Ranger Team.
“A Ranger Coordinator is required to develop work plans, supervise the Rangers on a daily basis, source funding and ensure facilities and equipment are operational and maintained,” Dr Cotching said.
Work will be undertaken through active on ground management by Traditional Owners implementing both traditional and contemporary NRM practices to reduce critical threats.
These are likely to include population monitoring for introduced predators/ herbivores and native species, identification of threatened species habitats, fire and weed management, and introduced predator/herbivore control.
“The desired outcomes of the project are that the Traditional Owners are able to undertake land management to protect and conserve threatened species in the Fortescue catchment, Traditional Owners’ connection with their country is built, and effective management is achieved of threats to the biodiversity assets of the Fortescue river catchment and surrounding country through control of fire and invasive weeds,” Dr Cotching said.
For more information, contact Rangelands NRM 08 9468 8250.
Image: Karinini National Park gorges in the Pilbara. Image courtesy of Gumala Aboriginal Corporation