Indigenous Environmental Management Plans piloted in the Midwest

[April 2013] 

Rangelands NRM in partnership with the Midwest Indigenous Landholder Service (MILS) has embarked on two pilot projects in the Midwest that will benchmark the environmental status of Mt Wittenoom and Ullawarra Stations. 

The process incorporates the use of local indigenous knowledge and science to formulate an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) for future conservation and environmental management as well as production on their pastoral properties.

Typically, environmental plans are used broadly by diverse industries to help facilitate sustainable development and usually as an offshoot of business plans or for regulatory purposes.

Bob Vinson from the Midwest Indigenous Landholder Service (MILS) said the WA Department of Agriculture and Food’s Southern Agriculture Indigenous Landholder Service (SAILS) Kelly Flugge and his team looked at the flaws of this approach and developed a process around environmental planning.

“The process incorporates local indigenous group’s knowledge of country and building landholders capacity to manage the natural resources in a way that is sustainable from a number of perspectives,” he said.

Dr Karen Cosgrove, Rangelands NRM’s Pastoral Program Manager said scientists from Biota (Perth) have been contracted to work with landholders and will get together over a few visits to gather and share information which will then be collated to populate the detailed property and production plans onto large maps that can be easily understood.

“The visual characteristic of the large maps and the way in which the information on the maps is collated and presented is paramount in understanding the relationships between agriculture production, biodiversity and environmental management,” she said.

“By developing and putting into operation the EMP process, sustainable production can be realised year in year out and as such business plans become realistic.”

The first stage of the EMP Pilot is to be undertaken at Mt Wittenoom station and will take place in early May 2013.  

For more information, email Dr Karen Cosgrove or phone 0402 657 570.

Image: Electric fencing being installed at Mt Wittenoom (©Bevan Gray)