New voices for the Wenlock River
The Wenlock Catchment Management Group recently elected a new committee to continue the voice for this important river system.
The Wenlock River catchment is one of Australia’s most biodiverse, relatively pristine rivers spanning over 7,500 square kilometres. The community that form part of the Wenlock River catchment, uphold cultural, social, and economic links with the river and its lands of the catchment.
To give the Wenlock River a voice and to maintain these values, the Wenlock Catchment Management Group (WCMG) was formally established in 2014. The group strives to identify and address priority issues for the wellbeing of the river and its lands.
Members of the WCMG display a varied and strong knowledge base of the Wenlock River and have close connections to the land and sea. The WCMG continues to seek the inclusion of Traditional Owner representatives from its lands - Kuuku I’yu Northern Kaanju, Yinwum, Atambaya, Luthig, Tjungundji, Taepithiggi, Thaynhakwith and Yupungathi people. It also includes land owners and managers of cattle stations, Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve, and Cape York Natural Resource Management.
At the AGM in October the group welcomed Sally Gray from Piccaninny Plains Wildlife Sanctuary, Australian Wildlife Conservancy as chairperson, taking the reins from Mapoon’s Jason Jia, who remains on the committee as treasurer. New member to the group, Ashley Nobbs from Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve is vice-chair, while long-term member Jocelyn de Jersey from Mapoon is the group’s new Secretary.
The WCMG has recently raised concerns of witnessed accounts of inappropriate fishing practices with large numbers of crab pots, and some stranded trawler nets found in the Wenlock River. Another report of alleged orchid poaching from riparian zones and bushland adjacent to the Wenlock River has also raised concerns.
The group has attracted funding for sustainable management of the catchment, and to promote community involvement in sustainable practices. Funding to date has supported the development of a strategic plan, while a small grant from Cape York NRM will support water quality monitoring on the river. South Cape York Catchments has recently donated $1000-00 to WCMG to help within ongoing establishment.