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About the NRM Plan

Learn more about Cape York's living NRM Plan

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NRM Targets

See how we're tracking with our NRM Targets

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What is an NRM Plan?

A natural resource management plan guides the efficient placement of land use activities. It provides information and access to tools to effectively and sustainably manage desired land uses. 

The Cape York NRM plan showcases the planning and management activities of this region, its people and its ecosystems. Building a robust planning process requires long-term, coordinated and collaborative effort with people involved in managing the land and those people supporting land managers inside and outside the region. The Cape York NRM Plan is continually updated through a Planning By Doing method. This prioritises on-ground activity and builds in continuous monitoring as a way to ensure adaptive and effective long-term management strategies.

Importantly, this approach and NRM plan is driven by Cape York community voices and on-ground projects happening in Cape York. The process is always adapting to better suit the real-world needs of the people and ecosystems of this country.

How can it help you?

People plan for many reasons. This NRM plan has the purpose of supporting people to change and improve land uses for the benefit of people and the environment. It can assist with monitoring the success of actions as people journey on the pathways to achieve the NRM targets. 

The Cape York NRM Plan is situated within a broader Atlas which provides opportunities for accessing, communicating, collecting, enhancing and sharing knowledge useful to planning and doing on-ground actions.

Why is Cape York NRM Involved?

A key part of Cape York NRM's role is the bridging of knowledge, coordination and partnerships to care for the natural environment and sustainably manage resources. It is also responsible for developing, facilitating and monitoring the implementation of a regional Natural Resource Management Plan. 

Natural resource management planning in the Cape York region enhances and exchanges skills and knowledge of and with the people on Cape York to assist them to plan for change.

With so many changes happening on Cape York, particularly changes in climate, people need to find ways to cope with and adapt to these changes. The plan and planning process fulfils part of Cape York NRM's role to build trust with the Cape York community and to agree on and monitor a set of coordinated actions.

About Cape York NRM

Cape York Natural Resource Management (NRM) Ltd is a not-for-profit organisation and a registered charity, with a mission to help people work to care for the natural environment while promoting the sustainable use of natural resources in Cape York Peninsula.
Cape York NRM is staffed by a dedicated team who work with individuals, groups and communities across Cape York to care for Country, through activities that promote and support the organisation's mission.

The priorities that guide the work of the group have grown through extensive community engagement. The organisation is involved with partnerships across Cape York, and through these relationships, implement activities based on principles of sustainable development, capacity building, project support and development, and regional coordination and planning. Currently Cape York NRM’s staff work with land and sea managers, traditional custodians, growers, graziers and ranger groups on a wide variety of programs that enhance Cape York's wetlands and soils, and offer protection to the Great Barrier Reef environment. Cape York NRM supports work that addresses the issue of climate change, as well as threats to the environment, culture and communities, including threatened species like sea turtles and the rare Jardine River turtle, and invasive species, such as feral pigs and weeds.

Our region

The Cape York NRM region (137,000 km2) extends north from the Mitchell River catchment to ‘The Tip’ of Cape York Peninsula. It encompasses diverse landscapes including 16 complete river basins with their systems virtually unmodified (the Annan River being the exception). The region contains 30 broad vegetation groups including 72 different types of rainforest comprising 20% of Australia’s remaining rainforest.

An area of the Mitchell River catchment north of the Cape York Peninsula Land Use Strategy (CYPLUS) line is known as the Joint Management Area (JMA) as drawn in Figure 1. Both Cape York NRM and Northern Gulf Resource Management Group (NGRMG) have community, industry and government engagement responsibilities within the JMA. Both organisations apply for funding and manage projects within the JMA in accordance with a Memorandum of Understanding (dated 7th June 2011).

Although much of the biodiversity has yet to be systematically surveyed, Cape York is known to have 3338 terrestrial plant species (379 of which are listed as rare and threatened and 264 of which are only found in Cape York). Cape York’s diverse fauna includes 60% of Australia’s butterflies, 25% of the frog species, 25% of the reptile species, 50% of the bird species, 33% of the mammals and the richest freshwater fauna in Australia (88 species, 41 of which are only found in Cape York).
Cape York has a rich historical and living cultural landscape. There are about 45 distinct Aboriginal languages with several hundred dialects. The diversity of its ecological zones – drier central highland, wetter northern region and wetter and more continuous rainfall in the east – has allowed for the development of contrasting kinds of cultural landscapes. The way water moves across the landscape is the basis underpinning Cape York’s clan estates, language groups and regional alliance groups.
The population of Cape York in 2011 was 15,400 56% of whom are Indigenous (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2012). Most people live in towns and there is a high level of unemployment (16%) (Chester & Driml 2012). There are 10 local governments (8 of which are Indigenous). The major primary industry based on both land use and income is cattle grazing. The other main industries include mining, horticulture, tourism and commercial fishing.

Land use includes 14.3% national park, 23.3% Aboriginal Shire lease, DOGIT or Land Trust, 52.9% is leasehold (with 33.9% pastoral lease). Less than 1% of Cape York is freehold land (Chester & Driml 2012).

Key planning principles and policy alignment

Cape York NRM's governance, operations and planning processes are guided by several sets of principles. These can be found in Appendix 1.
The Cape York NRM plan is aligned with several national policies and international agreements. For more information on how the plan is aligned, see Appendix 2.