WEST ARNHEM AND KAKADU PROJECT
Protecting the Extraordinary Values of the Northern Territory’s Top End
Territory Natural Resource Management (TNRM) is working collaboratively with land managers, ranger groups and other organisations across the West Arnhem and Kakadu region to protect environmental assets from the negative impacts of invasive weeds, feral animals and destructive fires. The project is supported through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.
The project is using a regional, collaborative approach to weed, feral animal and fire management activities to not only act against key threats, but minimise the risk and/or prevent these threats from spreading throughout the region. Through this approach, people are able to work on their own country, and their efforts benefit everyone across the region (eg. by removing gamba grass infestations in one area, gamba grass can no longer spread to neighbouring areas).
This project combines knowledge of country and on-ground works with aerial surveys and collation of available data to inform and prioritise planned activities.
A priority is preventing the spread of the highly invasive pyro-weed gamba grass into the West Arnhem and Kakadu region. A regional approach to managing feral buffalo numbers and impacts is also vital to protecting the natural values of the region.
The project involves knowledge sharing and establishing relationships to undertake participatory planning. This is necessary to guide land management activities that are supported by the project.
West Arnhem and Kakadu Region
Jabiru, Gunbalanya, Maningrida, Ramingining, Bulman, Katherine, Pine Creek
Mary River, Wildman River, South and East Alligator Rivers, Goomadeer River, Liverpool River, Blyth River, and parts of the Goyder River, Roper River and Daly River
9 million ha!
Through regional, collaborative action, individual efforts reduce the negative impacts of weeds, feral animals or destructive fires and prevent these threats from damaging neighbouring areas.
Prevent spread of gamba grass and other priority weeds into the West Arnhem and Kakadu (WAK) region - target: treatment across 40,000 Ha of land in the region.
Manage buffalo and other priority feral animals to reduce impacts on the WAK region - target: annual management of 50,000 Ha
Support fire management to improve the condition of 5000 Ha of Arnhem Land Plateau Sandstone
Increase community awareness about priority threats (i.e. weeds, ferals animals) to World Heritage Areas, Ramsar wetlands and Arnhem Land Sandstone Plateau values
Support collaborative planning and action to manage threats
RANGER ACTIVITIES ACROSS THE REGION
Overview of Ranger activities across the region as part of the West Arnhem and Kakadu project.
PROTECTING THE TERRITORY'S NATURAL ASSETS
The natural values of the region comprise sandstone country, floodplains, wetlands, major river systems like the East Alligator and South Alligator Rivers, monsoon rainforests and savanna (eucalypt woodland) country. Kakadu National Park, a living cultural landscape internationally recognised for its outstanding natural and cultural values, lies at the centre of the region. Kakadu is Australia’s largest terrestrial Park; an enormous area of World Heritage significance.
The habitats and ecosystems of the region support diverse assemblages of waterbirds, reptiles, native mammals, fish and frogs including endemic plants and animals and threatened species such as the Yellow Chat, White-throated Grasswren and native mammals (marsupials and rodents) that have declined in the past decades.
The area includes Ramsar wetlands and the plant communities and associated fauna of the Arnhem Land Plateau Sandstone Heath Threatened Ecological Community. Important cultural sites are dotted throughout the landscape, dating back many thousands of years.
Collaboration and consultation with traditional owners and Ranger groups including Jawoyn, Njanjma, Djelk, Warddeken, Adjumarllal, Mimal, Djurrubu, Wagiman and Arafura Swamp Ranger groups is a major focus of the project. Kakadu National Park (Parks Australia), NT Government departments, the Northern Land Council, researchers from Charles Darwin University and other stakerholders in the monsoonal north are also involved with the project.
The project helps protect key assets as part of the Australian Government's National Landcare Program:
•World Heritage Areas (Kakadu)
•Threatened Ecological Communities (Sandstone Heath shrubland complex)
•Threatened Species (Yellow Chat & White-throated Grasswren)
PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE
Looking forward, the project will further engage stakeholders in containing the spread of Gamba Grass and will develop a regional Gamba Grass Management Plan. It will deal with the issue of excessive buffalo numbers and raise awareness of the environmental effects of buffalo and other non-native animal species. The project also aims to reduce the extent of Mimosa (an identified Weed of National Significance) in Mekinj Valley, and will continue to work on the issue of severe fires in the sandstone heath.