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Welcome to Cape York Healthy Country Newsletter

Welcome to our first newsletter for 2021. Some people will be glad to see the back of 2020, but there were many good things to come out of the previous 12 months. During 2020 Cape York NRM was able to restructure its operations and program support so that we are able to deliver the best on ground projects possible and we have an incredibly busy year planned for 2021. We welcome four new staff to the team and the Cooktown office is now bursting at the seams.

We have an exciting new Reef Trust project that will be commencing this year (see page 7). Unlike previous projects that were focussed on reef water quality, the Catchments to Coral project will focus on the health of our significant coastal vegetation and wetlands and will work with landholders in the Great Barrier Reef catchments to deliver on ground activities such as weed and feral animal control, fire management and other actions that are the priorities of local land managers. Cape York NRM will also be contributing our time and money to try and broaden this project to as many landholders as possible, focussing on the central and northern peninsula areas.

In this edition we also outline the update of the regional NRM Plan (more on page 5). The Cape York Regional NRM Plan is due for review and we will be out and about talking to people and organisations across the Cape, about the changes that need to be made. It has been 5 years since the plan has been reviewed and there are bound to be changes, but we also know that many discussions and actions have already occurred. We will incorporate all of this knowledge into the draft before seeking input and feedback, but if you have a specific interest in the review of the regional NRM plan, please get in touch. The plan is used by people across the Cape to plan their on ground activities and support funding applications. Importantly, we also use the plan to highlight the priorities for action with potential funding partners.

Our work to support coordinated fire management across Cape York is continuing and this is a big focus for the coming 12 months. We are working with partners with the ongoing arson awareness campaign, increasing the coordination of the fire management across land tenures, supporting the implementation of traditional burning practices and working to increase the ability to proactively fight wildfires across the Cape. Alex Debono, the new Fire Program Coordinator (page 9), will be working to increase fire management with an initial focus in the Normanby Catchment.

Once again, thank you for your interest and support for this important work across Cape York. If there is anything you would like to know more about, please get in touch. We have an exciting year ahead and I hope to see you somewhere on the Cape soon.

Warm regards John Gavin