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MEDIA RELEASE: Land home to bush medicine and food garden joins voluntary conservation program

Photo: Traditional owner Steven Andrews (left) and Territory NRM trainee Chloe Booth at one of the springs on the TCA. Credit: Jawoyn Nation

Indigenous-owned land in the King River region of Katherine has been placed under a voluntary, ten-year natural resource management scheme.

Jawoyn Association Aboriginal Corporation and its daughter organisation Banatjarl are the latest landholders to sign up for the Territory Conservation Agreement (TCA) program.

The agreement takes the number of hectares being voluntarily conserved by landholders across the Northern Territory to almost 50,000, since the TCA program was set up by not for profit organisation Territory Natural Resource Management six years ago.

Under the TCA program, Territory NRM helps support and fund landholders to establish conservation areas on their own properties for a 10-year period.

The latest TCA protects 168 hectares including two significant springs and rainforest, and is the 37th agreement to be established.

The TCA is expected to maintain the ecological value of two sites, which include culturally significant rock art, engravings and burial sites.

Parts of the land once experienced intensive pastoral use but the Banatjarl Women’s Group have since established a food garden and bush medicine base, while members of the Jawoyn community also hunt, fish and camp in the area.

The TCA sits within part of the Jawoyn savanna burning project and Jawoyn Rangers manage the property’s natural and cultural values.

Jawoyn Land Management Coordinator Liam Golding said the TCA would protect one of the more important archeological areas in the Top End region.

“There’s over 40 identified cultural sites, including rock art and engravings,” he said.

Traditional Owner from the Derkolo clan and project manager on the TCA, Steven Andrews, said they would remove feral buffalos, cattle, horses and donkeys from the area and install six kilometers of fencing to keep them out.

They will also set up two permanent pig traps, carry out weed control, and continue appropriate fire management regimes.

Scientific monitoring of the TCA will record changes in water quality, vegetation and expected recovery of existing erosion.

“It would be great to get family back on country and working to maintain cultural sites for the next generation,’’ Mr Andrews said.

Mr Golding said in time he expected the area would be free of adverse impacts from feral animals.

Photo: Traditional owners Steven Andrews (left) and Travin Shields with a feral buffalo they removed from the TCA. Credit: Jawoyn Nation

“Water will be cleaner, and people will feel safer when they go to visit these sites and use the river for cultural and family reasons,” he said.

“There will be a greater awareness of environmental and cultural significance of the area and an increased appreciation of conservation works.”




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