Pilbara Corridors commences ESRM plans in the Fortescue Catchment

The Pilbara Corridors project team began its first round of Ecologically Sustainable Rangeland Management (ESRM) plans on two cattle stations in the Pilbara in September 2013.

Rangelands NRM Pilbara Program Manager Dr Bill Cotching said ESRM plans are aimed at capturing environmental, business and livestock goals and the existing environment of the property to ensure sustainable land management outcomes.  

“It also provides the opportunity for pastoralists to seek advice and assistance on facets of land management including any issues related to watering points, infrastructure, drainage, erosion, fire, poison plants, feral animals etc and how to improve natural systems sustainably whilst increasing grazing potential,” Dr Cotching said.  

Aspects of biodiversity are also considered in ESRM plans in relation to general flora and fauna species and also threatened and priority species and communities that might be present on the property.  

Hamersley station, a Rio Tinto managed lease was the first station to undertake this ESRM planning process in collaboration with Hamersley’s Station Manager and Rio Tinto Iron Ore’s Pastoral Manager.  

“This involved a day of discussion revisiting the existing 2009 ESRM plan in comparison to the current status of the property and future direction for Hamersley as a cattle station,” Dr Cotching said.

ESRM planning at Mulga Downs station, a Hancock Prospecting owned lease involved a three day venture that consisted of one day of ground truthing and reconnaissance in key areas, an aerial survey to identify any issues not possible from the ground and a final desktop/dinner table catch - up session with the Station Manager Victor Gleeson to capture any additional information and tie-up loose ends.  

“The Pilbara Corridors team are grateful for having the opportunity and time made available by busy pastoralists to undertake this exercise along with the generous hospitality extended during their stay,” Dr Cotching said.  

Image (Right): Mulga Downs mapping process with Station Manager Victor Gleeson, Bill Cotching (Rangelands NRM) and station staff (©Mary-Anne Clunies-Ross, Greening Australia)
Image (Left): Mulga Downs: Victor Gleeson and Mary-Anne Clunies-Ross (Greening Australia) identifying native grasses (©Bill Cotching, Rangelands NRM)