Rangelands NRM Blog, News & Resources

Wooleen Station undergoes in ‘Land for Wildlife’ assessment

Wooleen Station in the Murchison region has become the second station to undergo a wildlife assessment, as part of Rangelands NRM’s ‘Land for Wildlife’ pilot program in the WA rangelands.

The program is providing land managers the opportunity to better integrate conservation values into a productive pastoral/grazing system.

“Becoming involved in the Land for Wildlife program is a great opportunity for stations to showcase their existing environmental practices particularly in terms of current grazing systems and how this can positively impact the conservation of wildlife habitat” Rangelands NRM Project Officer Mez Clunies-Ross said.

Mez visited the station in January 2019 to assess undertake a Land for Wildlife assessment.

“Owners David and Frances Pollock expressed some interest in the Land for Wildlife program when we first started promoting the program for the rangelands in September 2018,” she said.

According to Frances, Wooleen is a pastoral enterprise producing beef which is also complemented with a nature-based tourism venture.

“We are currently working towards restoring the natural environmental processes on Wooleen to increase the biodiversity, establish a sustainable production system and strive for food security in the future,” she said.

As part of the assessment, Mez looked at vegetation communities according to their habitat and conservation values.

A search of the NatureMap database has found a total of 196 flora species and 147 fauna species recorded or known to occur within suitable habitats on Wooleen.

“It is evident that this property provides habitat for many fauna species due to the nature of it being primarily remnant vegetation,” Mez said.

“In terms of the quality of vegetation, most of the vegetation was intact with little or no grazing and no evidence of weeds.”

Mez noted regeneration appears to be occurring naturally in some areas and consists of younger plants and grass species.

“Increasing the native grasses and chenopod shrublands is one of our core objectivities and these plant communities also provide vital habitat for birds and small marsupials,” Frances said.

“We believe being part of Land for Wildlife is a great initiative to start bridging the gap between production and conservation. It is possible to care for the system holistically and achieve multiple goals at once.”

Based on the areas observed, it is evident that the overall condition of vegetation communities assessed is fair to good, providing suitable habitat for all suites of fauna both terrestrial and aquatic (when areas are wet and/or full).

“It was heartening to see the different types of habitats and ecological niches on Wooleen,” Mez said.

“The different types of land systems in the rangelands offer so much diversity when they have that structurally complexity and integrity in place.”

Frances said the tourism venture on Wooleen aims to offer an experience which is ecologically responsible on multiple levels and engages people with their natural environment.

“Becoming part of the Land for Wildlife program will help us to grow the trust and education for our visitors whilst striving to reach our environmental goals,” Frances said.

If you are interested in becoming a Land for Wildlife property in the WA rangelands please contact Mez Clunies-Ross on 0413 857 048 or by email.

Photo: Silky Brown Top Grasses at Wooleen Station (M. Clunies-Ross)