Fencing project keeps lagoon safe
A major fencing project to protect the Muwanta-Walnga Lagoon on Binthi Country has successfully established 2km of protection for approximately 50 hectares of land considered a “place of bounty”.
The Lagoon, found at the junction of the McIvor and Morgan Rivers, is a traditional icon for the Binthi Warra people — teeming with birds, ducks and geese and surrounded by rainforests, fisheries, woodlands, swamps and mangroves. It is also the traditional site for ‘marriage ceremonies’ between the White Cockatoo (Waandarr) and Red-tailed Black Cockatoo (Ngurraarr) clans within the Guugu Yimithirr Nation.
“This project is much more than a simple fencing project,” Cape York NRM’s acting Biodiversity and Fire Program Manager David Preece said.
“It has been severely impacted by feral pigs. Now the barriers are in place we will see improved wetland biodiversity and connectivity of Binthi Country in the McIvor River and Morgan River Areas within the Jeannie Catchment.”
Fencing was carried out by members of the Binthi Land Holding Group Aboriginal Corporation (BLHGAC) with Cape York supporting the project by providing materials and site preparation, funded by the Australian Government.
Dave said that from an environmental point of view, the project will:
- act as a buffer against coastal erosion, storm surges and flooding which helps build resilience to flood and cyclone events
- help maintain or improve water quality by transforming and retaining nutrients and sediment from run-off which would otherwise go into creeks and rivers that flow to the ocean. This in turn benefits humans by providing clean water
- play a vital role in the carbon cycle by sequestering and storing carbon dioxide thereby reducing climate variability
- provide an important nursery for varieties of fish and crustaceans, including many that form the basis of economically important fisheries
- provide habitat vital for the survival of a range of plants and animals
- provide many opportunities for recreation and tourism and support research and educational activities
- deliver a range of products such as medicine, food and water vital for people, livestock, agriculture, and industry
It will also provide important cultural, spiritual, or aesthetic services and improve human well-being. The area is part of a National Heritage Listing nomination for the Binthi Warra Indigenous Heritage Places ‘Thaman’ and ‘Yiirmbal’.
The fencing project will also establish a photographic history of the lagoon’s transformation, according to David Preece.
“We’ll be setting up cameras at set points around the waterway to capture the changes and improvements,” he said. “It should recover well, particularly after the wet season. We will start to see some change then.”
The Binthi Project is funded through the Federal Government’s Reef Trust 7 Program.