November 1st, 2013
WELCOME. Environs Kimberley or EK is the peak conservation organisation for the Kimberley region, one of the world’s last wilderness areas.
Our natural habitats are facing unprecedented threats from too frequent fires, feral animals, weeds, broadscale land-clearing, dams and encroaching industrial development. Native mammals are disappearing.
Through its Kimberley Nature Project, Environs Kimberley (EK) is conducting innovative work with Aboriginal ranger groups to better manage the threats to rare and endangered Kimberley ecosystems (click here).
Across the region, miners are exploring 25,000 km² for coal, over 120,000 km² for shale gas, that would be extracted by ‘fracking’, and more than 10,000 km² for bauxite. (Sydney’s urban area covers 1687 km²). The region is also facing exploration for oil, iron ore, copper, diamonds, rare earths, lead, zinc and uranium.
HELP TO PROTECT THE KIMBERLEY.
May 29th, 2016
In 1996, sparked by the threat of dams to the Fitzroy River and irrigated agriculture in the west Kimberley, three people gathered around a kitchen table in Broome and launched the region’s peak conservation group, Environs Kimberley.
Traditional Owner concerns about the future health of the River and the savannah all the way to Bidyadanga, led to the formation of a coalition that eventually put a stop to the dams and the piping of water to Perth.
Environs Kimberley, or EK, is now celebrating 20 years of work protecting the natural assets of the region.
Environs Kimberley Director, Martin Pritchard, said, “It just goes to show what a small, passionate group of people can do when they put their minds to something.”
He paid tribute to the founders and first staff member: “Our founders, including well-known author Pat Lowe, were visionaries. They saw the Kimberley as one of the world’s special places and decided to do something about protecting it — and they succeeded.”
“The first Director, Maria Mann, did an incredible job over 12 years in building the organisation from a voluntary group to a force to be reckoned with. Without Maria’s drive and passion EK wouldn’t be the organisation it is now,” said Mr Pritchard.
This success was made possible through the support of volunteers, members, donors, partner organisations, grants, a dedicated Board and hardworking staff.
EK is unusual in that it advocates strongly for protection and good management of the Kimberley while undertaking practical, on-the-ground work such as weeding, tree planting, plant and animal surveys and conservation planning.
“Our partnerships with Aboriginal Ranger groups are critical to the successful custodianship of the land and sea. The combination of western science and Traditional Ecological Knowledge is vital to understanding how natural systems work; you can’t beat knowledge that’s been around for millennia,” said Mr Pritchard.
Mr Pritchard agreed that advocating for the protection of the Kimberley was often highly challenging and stressful work.
“We are about protecting the Kimberley’s globally significant environment and if we see something that threatens that, we call it like it is. Sometimes this interferes with the aspirations of big business and government but we don’t shy away from that. Our hundreds of members and donors love the Kimberley and they’ve joined EK because we stand up for the environment,” said Mr Pritchard.
“What many people don’t realise is that decisions to push ahead with industrial-scale projects are often extremely damaging to the environment and, once you’ve destroyed something, you never get it back. Our job is to make sure people understand what the consequences are, because developers and sometimes government won’t give the big picture,” said Mr Pritchard.
Mr Pritchard rejected the accusation of being anti-development.
“This is a complete furphy, it’s an accusation levelled at us by extreme elements when they think their own profit-making interests are threatened. We are totally pro-development, we want to see the region prosper and we believe this can happen without destroying our major asset — the world-class environment we have here.
“New industries like the carbon economy, creative industries like the arts, music and food, renewable energy and tourism have a very promising future if they are embraced and encouraged. We need to break away from the old economy of industrialisation and fossil fuels, they are just not compatible with the Kimberley.”
Mr Pritchard admitted the challenge of keeping Environs Kimberley going financially was huge.
“We’ve had severe funding cuts over the last couple of years and when you are an organisation that challenges environmentally damaging government and industry projects they’re not exactly knocking on the door to give us money. We rely heavily on members and donors and our own fundraising to survive – it’s a huge challenge that gets harder every year.”
“We are extremely grateful to all our supporters, who have done so much to protect the Kimberley over the past two decades.
EK is celebrating 20 years with a fundraising concert at the Pearl Luggers on June 4th, featuring Broome musicians headlined by the Stephen Pigram quartet. Tickets are available online at www.environskimberley.org.au or by calling the EK office on 9192 1922.
October 9th, 2015
Premier Barnett has warned Broome that a crocodile attack on Cable Beach could do “immense damage” to the town’s tourism industry.
West Australian Premier Colin Barnett has singled out crocodiles and environmental protestors as threats to Broome’s future prosperity while attending the Kimberley Economic Forum.
May 22nd, 2015
Yahoo 7 News
Woodside has officially faced down Colin Barnett over his demand that the company build a supply base at James Price Point for the huge Browse gas field.
Documents Woodside released this week confirm the company will not build a new onshore supply base anywhere in the Kimberley and will instead rely on existing infrastructure
April 17th, 2015
Traditional owners in the Kimberley region of Western Australia Australia have vetoed fracking as part of an agreement allowing the oil and gas exploration company Buru Energy to start commercial production at an onshore oil field in the Fitzroy Valley.
The native title agreement with the Yawuru people, authorised by traditional owners at a meeting on 1 April, was the last hurdle to clear before the Department of Mines and Petroleum could grant the company a production licence. The Nyikina-Mangala and Karajarri-Yanja peoples signed a separate native title agreement in March.
March 24th, 2015
Australia’s biggest national park to be created in WA’s Kimberley as mining companies relinquish tenement
The new agreement will see the Mitchell Falls in WA’s Kimberley region included in the national park.
A five million hectare slice of Western Australia’s Kimberley region will become the country’s largest national park after the State Government struck a deal forever banning mining in the iconic Mitchell Plateau.
After extensive negotiations, a 45-year state agreement that gave Rio Tinto rights to mine bauxite and Alcoa the right to refine aluminium on the Mitchell Plateau has been cancelled.
No further mining or exploration will be permitted in the 175,000 hectare area, which will be included in the new five million hectare Kimberley National Park which includes a network of land and marine parks.
March 20th, 2015
Amid the questioning of government support for remote Aboriginal communities and what Prime Minister Tony Abbott called the “lifestyle choices” of those who live there, the growing role of Aboriginal management of large areas of remote Australia has been overlooked.
There are 1,200 small, discrete Indigenous communities in regional and remote Australia with various sources of income, including federal government “Working on Country” funding.
March 15th, 2015
As if the Federal Treasurer did not have enough to worry about, with an economy stuck in the slow lane and ballooning government debt.
Now, one of Australia’s few economic bright spots – the liquefied natural gas (LNG) boom – is coming off the boil as well, thanks to the plunge in oil prices over the past year.
By some estimates, Australia is set to become the world’s largest gas exporter by 2018.
But the LNG price is linked to the oil price, and with benchmark Brent Crude halving since June, that will blow a sizeable hole in Australia’s expected LNG bounty.
March 4th, 2015
Samples from Northern Minerals’ Browns Range rare earth project near Halls Creek.
A rare earth mine in the remote Kimberley region of Western Australia is a step closer to reality, after the release of Northern Minerals’ final feasibility study.
The company said the feasibility study had confirmed its Browns Range project, 160 kilometres south-east of Halls Creek, was viable and profitable.
March 3rd, 2015
Environs Kimberley and SKIPA volunteers have been working with the Bardi Jawi Oorany Rangers.
The weeding project at Kooljaman Resort in the northern part of the Dampier Peninsula is helping to protect the endangered Monsoon Vine Thicket ecosystem.
February 16th, 2015
There has been a bit of rain around recently, so on the weekend a small group of interested people went out in the evening looking for frogs and other critters. This is part of a general program aiming to document the biological diversity of the Kimberley region.
We went to a lagoon where we heard two different species of burrowing frogs calling, the Mole Toadlet (Uperoleia talpa), and the West Kimberley Toadlet (Uperoleia mjobergii). These frogs spend the dry season underground. They only come out in the wet season, which is when they eat, call and breed.
We also saw numerous juveniles of the Giant Burrowing Frog (Cyclorana australis). These frogs breed early in the wet season, and so these juveniles have already grown from eggs that were laid earlier in the wet, that grew into tadpoles and then metamorphosed.
We also encountered a Stimson’s Python (Antaresia stimsoni), who may well have also been out looking for frogs..
A Mole Toadlet sitting amongst grass.
A subadult Giant Burrowing Frog.
A very small Giant Burrowing Frog that still has a tail.