World Heritage

The Central WA coastline features two World Heritage Areas. Ningaloo Coast and Shark Bay, listed for exceptional natural beauty and significant biological diversity, which are under threat.

The Central WA coastline features two World Heritage Areas. Ningaloo Coast and Shark Bay, listed for exceptional natural beauty and significant biological diversity, which are under threat.


Shark Bay is a remarkable place, with colourful and diverse landscapes, rare fauna and flora, and world-class examples of Earth’s ecological processes. It is best known for its dugong population, vast sea-grass beds, and the most diverse and abundant examples of living marine stromatolites.

The Shark Bay World Heritage Area covers 2.2 million hectares and has a coastline stretching for 1500km. About 65 per cent is marine waters.

The Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area covers 604,500 hectares and stretches more than 300km along the remote WA coast. The property includes one of the longest near-shore reefs in the world.

Shark Bay is one of 19 Australian World Heritage sites and one of the four in Australia which meets all four World Heritage natural criteria.

Under Threat

These iconic Western Australian places and valuable marine ecosystems are under serious threat from:

  • Invasive plants and animals, particularly those entering the World Heritage (WHA) from surrounding catchments.
  • Disconnect of land and sea management initiatives, resources, and managers.
  • Historical and emerging industry pressure and effect (erosion and nutrient runoff).
  • Predation of fragile marine life (sea turtles) by invasive animals.

Joint Management

Malgana people, the Traditional Custodians of the land and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions are currently negotiating an Indigenous Land Use Agreement to agree how jointly managed parks and reserves will be used and managed.

Joint management will include the development of a joint management plan which considers the natural, cultural, visitor use, community, economic and resource use values and outlines long-term management objectives and strategies to protect these.

Rangelands NRM

Rangelands NRM (RNRM) collaborates and supports a diverse array of land and sea managers in the Shark Bay Ningaloo and surrounding buffer areas.
Partnerships includes:

  • The Gascoyne Catchment Group, Biosecurity Groups (Carnarvon and Pilbara Mesquite Management Committee).
  • Land Conservation District Councils (LCDC).
  • Aboriginal Corporations and traditional knowledge holders (Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation (AC). Baiyungu AC, Malgana AC).
  • Pastoralists, horticulture producer groups.
  • Conservation and landcare groups (Bush Heritage Australia).
  • Federal, state and local governments and agencies; and Scientists, researchers, landscape ecologists, consultants, educational institutions and students.

WHA Program

Rangelands NRM actively engages with Indigenous people and groups in WHA Program. However, due to disconnection and fragmentation among Traditional Custodian and Native Title groups in the Ningaloo and Shark Bay regions, we acknowledge the need for substantial future investment. This is crucial to identify connections, foster relationships, and support these groups in enhancing their capacity. Our goal is to enable them to spearhead projects that counteract threats to the WHA.


  • Treated 29,980 hectares of inland riparian areas for invasive weeds like Mesquite, Cactus, and Parkinsonia, enhancing waterway health, natural capital, and livestock grazing conditions.
  • Managed 737,655 hectares to control large feral herbivores such as donkeys, camels, and horses, boosting rehydration, ground cover, and reducing runoff into delicate marine environments in WHA catchments.
  • Conducted annual baiting and trapping of invasive predators like cats, foxes, dogs at turtle rookeries.
  • Executed strategic planning and operations on inland pastoral properties to mitigate topsoil and nutrient damage to WHAs.



The WHA Program is conducted in challenging environments which are diverse and remote. However, important outcomes have been achieved beyond expectation. RNRM has built strong and positive relationships with locally based land and sea managers who understand and are committed to long-term conservation efforts on thew ground at large scale.


The necessity of cultivating and maintaining robust, trust-based partnerships with various land and sea managers across regions is critical. RNRM continues to prioritise this program, recognising that the expansive remote area requires sufficient resources to ensure the ongoing delivery of quantifiable outcomes.

Invest in Our Shared Heritage

Our world is rich with natural beauty and biodiversity that have been preserved for millennia. Two such treasures are the Ningaloo Coast and Shark Bay World Heritage Areas. However, these unique ecosystems face threats from invasive species, industry pressure, and the disconnect of land and sea management initiatives. The WHA Program, in collaboration with the Malgana people and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, is dedicated to preserving these precious habitats.

Support a Sustainable Future

Align your Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) commitments with our WHA Program. By investing in our mission, you not only contribute to the protection of global biodiversity but also demonstrate your commitment to sustainable business practices.
Join us as strategic partners. Your organisation’s expertise and resources can help us overcome challenges in these diverse and remote environments. Together, we can ensure more effective and sustainable conservation efforts.
By supporting the WHA Program, you’re not just investing in the preservation of the Ningaloo Coast and Shark Bay – you’re investing in our shared heritage and a sustainable future for all.




Shark Bay | World Heritage Discovery & Visitor Centre (

Ningaloo Marine Park | Australian Marine Parks (

Home | Gascoyne Catchments


Baiyungu Dreaming | Tagalong Tours | Corel Bay | Exmouth

Malgana Aboriginal Corporation – Malgana

Healthy Country Protected Forever – Bush Heritage Australia