Martu women rangers have been working on ground to help protect the natural biodiversity and cultural values on the Jundee pastoral lease near Wiluna in the Murchison.
Working in collaboration with Rangelands NRM, the Central Desert Native Title Service (CDNTS), Newmont Asia Pacific (Jundee Operations) and Rex Ward of Millrose Station, the partnership has enabled Indigenous participation to be increased and Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) integrated into the recovery of biodiversity values.
Hamish Morgan, Facilitator Land and Community Projects at CDNTS said previously, the Wiluna Martu ranger team had engaged men only and increasingly, Martu women based in Wiluna were requesting an opportunity to be employed on land management projects.
“Having a dedicated women's project has allowed work activities to be catered to suit the practical and cultural responsibilities of women. This includes being able to bring their children along on work trips as well as doing work more culturally appropriate for women,” he said.
An initial ESRM plan was developed for the Jundee lease by Biota Environmental Services earlier in 2013. Land managers were asked to document their landscape knowledge on large maps, and ideas were discussed and mapped for land management in key areas identified. Specific activities including fauna monitoring, erosion control and fire management were targeted for ground works activities.
Mr Morgan said the project has established a model for biodiversity conservation and Industry-Indigenous-Government-Pastoral partnership that could be adopted by other Industry landholders and work alongside other environmental and biodiversity conservation projects and activities in the area to enhance biodiversity conservation at a landscape scale.
“The project has brought together industry, government, pastoral and Indigenous partners within the Wiluna region to reduce critical threats to biodiversity through innovative and collaborative, shared management arrangements,” Mr Morgan said.
“The ESRM plan will also allow the continued management of biodiversity after this initial project has run its course.”
The Jundee pastoral lease, managed by mining company Newmont, consists of areas of hummock grasslands, mulga shrublands and low chenopod shrublands. The women have been involved in identifying and recording the threatened Crest-tailed Mulgara (Dasycercus cristicauda) with ecologist Ric Southgate.
Off-site capacity building activities are also planned for the female ranger teams through a partnership with the Department of Environment and Conservation on the former Lorna Glen and Earheedy Stations and works within the Birriliburu Indigenous Protected Area.
These activities include the development of job-readiness skills along with exposure to contemporary biodiversity conservation expertise and activities, inter-generational transfer of TEK and provision of training in health and safety.