The Private Protected Area Program Partnership
The Queensland Government through the Department of Environment and Science (DES) has funded a two-year contract with Ecosure in partnership with six regional Natural Resource Management (NRM) groups, to deliver a range of services and products to assist landholders managing their Nature Refuge. The aim of the program is to provide landholders access to the skills and knowledge required for them to successfully plan, prioritise, and carry out well timed works such as the control of weeds and pest animals. The program aims to improve their ability to restore, maintain and enhance the values of their protected area and their ability to monitor and evaluate the condition of their nature refuge to inform adaptive management actions.
We have designed a project that spans multiple areas across Queensland, from Cape York and the Desert Channels country to south-east and central Queensland and across the wet and dry tropics, so a diversity of issues impacting landholders was captured. We first surveyed all Nature Refuge landholders to better understand the issues affecting their patch and to understand where they wanted support. We have since developed a cloud-based portal which contains a range of information to support those knowledge gaps including nine webinars on a range of topics, training materials, forums, links to current best practice information, grant opportunities and a calendar of events. It is also a platform where Nature Refuge landholders from around Queensland can connect. As we are conscious there is some workshop fatigue in the broader NRM community, we are designing the workshops with our NRM partners so the 14 workshops being presented in strategic locations, fill as many gaps as possible. Topics include ecological restoration and specific weed management, fire management, controls for specific pest animals (e.g. pigs and wild dogs in the north; deer in the dry topics and south-east Queensland), threatened species management and monitoring.
This project also includes one on one site visits and the subsequent development of individual property management plans for 109 Nature Refuge landholders. Site assessments and working with landholders across the 109 separate properties has begun and all individual plans will be developed by September 2023. We are extremely excited about working with the State government, 6 NRM regions, 109 property owners and a range of other stakeholders passionate about supporting this important initiative and the health of so many, important protected areas.