West Kimberley Nature Project
WKNP ON THE DAMPIER PENINSULA
The West Kimberley Nature Project (WKNP) is 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 found on the Dampier Peninsula.
EK has been working in collaboration with these Ranger Groups, as well as the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC), Broome Botanical Society, the Society for Kimberley Indigenous Plants and Animals (SKIPA) to develop Management Plans have for six individual 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 values priority recovery actions and processes. Over 1000ha of significant vine thickets and wetlands are covered by these management plans, and WKNP activities have already made significant progress on priorities set out in the plans.
Additionally, an ecologist is 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 is helping 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 WKNP is helping to protect significant coastal areas in the West Kimberley.
Project outcomes to date include:
- Weeds of National significance being controlled across more than 1300ha of Meleauca scrub and significant coastal areas.
- Reducing the incidence of late-season hot uncontrolled fires through 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 – we are working with groups to identify and protect threaten species habitat (ie. 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 – we are modeling fire history, using ants and floristic structure to monitor and inform management of monsoon vine thickets.