West Kimberley Nature Project

WKNP ON THE DAMPIER PENINSULA

The West Kimberley Nature Project (WKNP) involved working with Traditional Owners and KLC-facilitated Indigenous Ranger groups (Bardi-Jawi, Nyul Nyul, Karajarri), as well as the Bardi Jawi Oorany Rangers, to protect and conserve the threatened Monsoon Vine Thicket community and wetlands on the Dampier Peninsula.

EK has been working in collaboration with these Ranger Groups, as well as the Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW), Broome Botanical Society, and the Society for Kimberley Indigenous Plants and Animals (SKIPA) to develop Management Plans for six areas.

These six plans outline a comprehensive scientific and traditional ecological understanding of the vine thicket system – its values, and the main threats posed to these values (e.g. weeds, fire). The plans also identify priority recovery actions and processes. Over 1000 ha of significant Vine Thickets and wetlands are covered by these Management Plans, and KNP activities have already made significant progress on priorities set out in the plans.

Additionally, an ecologist has been working to further develop our understanding of fire history on the Vine Thicket ecosystem, and working with EK and Ranger groups to develop sound biological monitoring protocols to inform ongoing survey work and management activities.

A strong focus of the WKNP has been to support Indigenous Ranger groups to build skills in ecological management, and provide training in weed control, fire management, feral animal control.  The WKNP helped to bring Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) together with scientific monitoring and management of natural and cultural areas in new and innovative ways.

By providing support and assistance the KNP is helping to protect significant coastal areas across the Kimberley.

Project outcomes included:

  • Weeds of National significance controlled across more than 1300 ha of Melaleuca scrub and significant coastal areas.
  • Reduced incidence of late-season hot uncontrolled fires by using a combination of cool fuel reduction burns and fire breaks.
  • Harvesting native seed for propagation and regeneration projects – both in degraded areas, and to improve habitat quality and biodiversity within existing vegetation
  • Surveys –  working with groups to identify and protect threatened species habitat (i.e. Gouldian Finch) and rare and restricted ecosystems.
  • Managing the impact of tourists on sensitive coastal sites through active traffic management and access constraints, as well as educational signage onsite, and educational materials
  • Scientific research – modelling fire history, using ants and floristic structure to monitor and inform management of Monsoon Vine Thickets.