The rush is on to beat the wet season and it is full steam ahead across Cape York. The huge amount of activity at the start of this dry season has continued with tourist numbers only now starting to slow, and mustering continuing as landholders take advantage of the current cattle prices.
The huge amount of activity is also reflected at Cape York NRM, with project delivery accelerating towards the end of the year. This edition of the Healthy Country newsletter highlights the activity that has been delivered in recent months.
The Healthy Farming Futures (HFF) program has seen the completion of the 2021 coordinated aerial burning program, and the feral animal control program.
Staff, Andrew and Nat, have visited properties across the Holroyd Plain region, undertaking property planning, discussing project opportunities, updating mapping, and checking in on what’s happening on-ground.
In June and July, the HFF program supported the Cape York coordinated early season burning program, covering 23 properties from as far north as Wolverton Station, to Bonny Glen, south of Cooktown.
Western Cape Turtle Threat Abatement Alliance (WCTTAA) has kicked many goals this year protecting marine turtles on the Western Cape through its highly successful on-ground work as well as through spreading the word on these quiet achievements.
WCTTAA Ranger groups have again delivered a turtle nest monitoring and protection program during 2021 on beaches covering some 150 kilometres of remote coastline.
The Ranger groups included:
• Pormpuraaw Land and Sea Management Rangers
• Napranum Rangers
• Mapoon Land and Sea Management Rangers
In early November, global leaders met in Glasgow at COP 26 (Conference of the Parties 26) to seek agreement on a path to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees celsius.
Almost 200 countries were asked for their plans to cut emissions as a means to reduce current and future climate impacts.
Graziers across Cape York’s Joint Management Area (Palmer, Mitchell and Alice River Catchments) are busy delivering all sorts of exciting projects to improve native vegetation and soil health on their properties.
Since the program began in 2018, graziers have been partnering with Cape York NRM and Gulf Savannah NRM to plan and deliver projects across 16 grazing properties in the region, spanning more than 2.3 million hectares.
Projects will be spread along the full length of eastern Cape York in an endeavour to protect fragile coastal ecosystems—wetlands and floodplains, coastal vegetation, and potential turtle nesting beaches—under the Catchments to Coral program that is funded by the Australian Government’s Reef Trust.
A Catchments to Coral Reference Group was established in May this year that brings together a wide range of expertise from individuals and organisations to support the coordinated and strategic delivery of the Program’s outcomes and objectives.
Rangers from Normanby, Melsonby and Hope Vale were first in line to take part in a series of training programs designed to combat gully erosion in Cape York.
Held in Normanby and hosted by the Normanby Land Management Group in October this year, the first course focused on learning how to operate machinery which can be used to help mitigate damage caused by erosion.
The first round was “very well received,” according to Cape York NRM Sustainable Agriculture and Water Quality Manager Michael Goddard.
Erosion is officially at risk of extinction at Normanby Station. In the last few months, the Normanby Rangers have been getting seriously skilled up in gully remediation, receiving training in operating bulldozers, excavators, rollers, loaders and water carts.
The Rangers have put their new skills to the test, remediating a large alluvial gully on Clayhole Creek.
Automated sampling and new testing sites are among the latest innovations being introduced at Lakeland to improve the detail of water quality information in the local area. Cape York NRM has been working with landholders and the Department of Environment and Science to ensure real-time information on just how healthy the waterways are.
As part of this project, the Department will be installing an autosampling station, which will be maintained by Cape York NRM, on the Laura River.