Forum for common concerns about Western Australia’s threatened species

[November 2015]

Natural Resource Management WA (NRMWA) comprising Western Australia’s seven regional NRM groups, together with the Department of Parks and Wildlife were pleased to present the inaugural WA Threatened Species Forum – which was held on Friday 30 October, 2015.

The event brought together a cross-section of society with a common concern for Western Australia’s animals and plants.

More than 180 delegates from across the state and country attended the conference, which promoted the plight of threatened plant and animals, and highlight new conservation methods and recent successes.

The conference explored practical and effective ways of tackling threats to their survival, while also building and enhancing networks of support in the field of threatened species conservation.

The forum sought alignment and synergies between policies and practices at multiple levels of government, businesses, research institutions, scientific and conservation management experts, non-government organisations and others active in threatened species conservation.

Event spokesperson Richard McLellan, CEO of the Northern Agricultural Catchments Council (NACC), who initiated the forum following the National Threatened Species Summit held in Melbourne in July, said the day exceeded all expectations.

“We had a fantastic turn out and support leading into this forum,” he said.

“This was helped by a varied program of more than 30 speakers and special guests, including several MP’s, Gregory Andrews, Australia’s Threatened Species Commissioner, University of Western Australia Winthrop Professor of Biodiversity Stephen Hopper and many more.” 

Melissa Price, MP, Member for Durack, spoke about the event in Parliament and thanked organisers NACC and event supporters, the seven WA NRM organisations and the WA Department of Parks and Wildlife.

The forum sessions covered partnerships, science, action and innovation.

Presenters included Rangelands NRM Program Manager for the Pilbara Corridors Project, Ian Cotton, who spoke in the Action session about collaborative landscape-scale approaches to address threats to threatened species in the Pilbara. 

“The project is reducing threats through landscape management of fire regimes, feral herbivore, weeds and pastoral activities,” he said.

He said this work is supported by a regional conservation action plan, being developed through stakeholder collaboration to identify priority assets and threats to those assets.

“At the same time, we are working with Australia’s Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network to recording and collate biological and species survey data for public use,” he said.

Rangelands NRM Program Manager Desert and Pilbara, Chris Curnow chaired the forum’s innovation session. 

“We heard from a fantastic range of speakers covering both government and community-led projects that are implementing innovative solutions to prevent extinctions,” he said.

Mr Curnow said among the many highlights of the day was a keynote presentation by University of Western Australia Winthrop Professor Stephen Hopper, who shared his insights and expertise in conservation.

“Professor Hopper spoke about the importance of dialogue between the practitioners of conservation, community groups, government organisations, private land owners and the science community,” he said.

“This is part of Rangelands NRM’s role, indeed all NRM organisations, to connect stakeholders for better outcomes, so we were pleased to be a part of this event.”

Performers and guests highlight key messages at the WA Threatened Species Forum. Photo courtesy of Northern Agricultural Catchments Council (NACC).