It’s been a busy time since the last edition of the Cape York Healthy Country Newsletter. The relaxed COVID- 19 travel restrictions and dry season weather has meant that we’ve been busy out on ground making up for lost time in delivery of projects. We’re continuing to respond to the challenges that COVID-19 has created, and with extra safety in place we’ve managed to get projects underway. Although it’s only September, it feels like the race to the end of the year has begun.
Because of the remoteness of its members, Wenlock Catchment Management Group were already professionals at Zoom meetings when COVID-19 hit.
This year they've continued the committee meetings and the Healthy Country Planning process (supported by Community Bred and The Nature Conservancy) - mixing up old workshop techniques with new technology.
Lockdown time has been well used with the production of a first-pass assessment of climate change impacts for the catchment (Cath Moran Ecological),
Turtles on the western coast of Cape York Peninsula will benefit from ongoing protection by the Western Cape Turtle Threat Abatement Alliance (WCTTAA) Rangers, thanks to the announcement by the Queensland Government of continued funding.
Rangers work hard to control and manage predators such as feral pigs, and reduce the predation on marine turtle nests to less than 30% of all nests per beach for each species.
In the Mapoon area, pregnant turtles endure the added threat of crocodiles that predate on them as they slowly make their way up the beaches to nest.
Cape York NRM’s Community Action Plan (CAP) team will soon be heading to three communities in the south-east Cape to run workshops to develop the Cape York CAP.
The Great Barrier Reef Foundation will compile input from six Queensland regions to create the state’s overall Plan that will identify shared goals for community Reef protection.
Since 2015, Sharks And Rays Australia (SARA) has been running regular expeditions to the Mitchell River in Cape York under the lead of Dr Barbara Wueringer, an expert on sawfish and other sharks and rays.
In July 2020, when COVID-19 travel restrictions to the Cape eased, SARA, together with Cape York NRM and Northern Gulf RMG, ran a research expedition to sample for sawfish along the Mitchell River.
Some great things have been happening on the land in Cape York during 2019–2020. Projects continued to roll out across the Cape despite the disruption of COVID-19 border closures and travel restrictions.
Cape York NRM’s Sustainable Agriculture and Water Quality team supports Cape York people to enhance agricultural practices and improve the quality of fresh and marine water. The team and its partners have worked across a variety of projects during 2019–2020 including hazard reduction burns, gully remediation and streambank stabilisation.
Land managers from northern Cape York, in a vast area spanning from the western to the eastern coast, came together in July this year to plan a coordinated burn in order to reduce the risk of wildfires. This collaborative project brought together land managers from across the Embley, Mission, Wenlock, Olive and Pascoe catchments.
Laughter, friendship and even a few tears—Northern Gulf’s women’s events for 2020 kicked off in September with events in Mount Carbine and Walkamin, and concluded in Mount Surprise.
This year’s event, Bloom and Prosper, focussed on disaster preparedness and personal development, with participants gaining skills and knowledge to support their families and communities with disaster resilience.
The day’s task is to push a lot of dirt around. The end result, however, will be a complete transformation of the landscape.
At Beefwood Park, a 102-hectare property 20 kilometres west of Lakeland, Cape York NRM has supported the land manager’s challenge of turning an eroding mass of gullies into a productive landscape.
Why? To restore the country to a healthy condition, to further the owner’s land management skills, and to keep the soil where it is supposed to be—on the land and not muddying up waterways.
In September, your Board met for its first face-to-face meeting for 2020. Although we have had the phone and video to connect us for previous meetings, coming together in person was great. One of the strengths of how the Board was designed from its inception was to ensure it captures the knowledge and skill from various geographical areas of the Cape, and the sectors in which we work, live and breathe.