People For Nature
People for Nature is a Nature Conservation program that seeks to raise awareness and understanding of the value of nature and the myriad ways it supports and enriches people’s lives. The longer-term aim of this program is to inspire people to develop relationships with nature and to Value, respect and care for nature.
People for Nature is both a philosophical tenet that underpins every aspect of Nature Conservation’s work and a specific program to encourage greater engagement with and enjoyment of nature. This is achieved by regular communication with a diverse supporter base and a program of events held throughout the year in the Margaret River region.
Conserving the Margaret River
The Margaret River is one of the healthiest rivers in an urban and agricultural setting in the south west of WA. The river system maintains good water quality, healthy fringing vegetation and unique aquatic fauna.
Continued population growth and rising recreational demands present environment challenges for the river. Invasive introduced species also threaten the health and resilience of the river system as do diminishing stream flows associated with climate change.
Since 2003 Nature Conservation has worked collaboratively with stakeholders to protect and enhance the health of the river system and the important ecological corridor it provides through the regional landscape.
Caring for Coast
The coastline of the Margaret River region is deservedly famous for its outstanding natural beauty. The long beaches, sheltered bays, good fishing, numerous surf breaks and dramatic coastal cliffs provide a broad range of recreational opportunities highly valued by both visitors and locals.
Increasing use of the coast by growing resident and tourist populations together with other threats associated with climate change are placing significant pressures on the fragile coastal region.
Nature Conservation is one of several organisations working collaboratively to ensure the region’s coastal ecosystems are managed according to the best practice and with its partners supports established volunteer coastcare groups with a range of coastal restoration projects.
Coordinated Weed Control
Environmental weeds are a significant threat to the unique biodiversity of the Margaret River region. Introduced plant species flourish in the region’s high rainfall environment and compete with native plants for space, nutrients and sunlight.
Weeds can also change the structure and composition of bushland used by native animals and contribute to habitat degradation. They detract from the unique natural beauty of the region as evident at any arum lily-infested area.
Nature Conservation and its partners have developed a regional environment weed strategy that focuses and coordinates the efforts of the various agencies responsible for weed control in the region. The Strategy focuses effort on areas of high biodiversity and scenic significance within the region and engages private landowners on a cost share basis to be part of the coordinated approach.
Managing Bushland for Wildlife
Nature Conservation works with landowners in the Margaret River region to improve management of remnant bushland and enhance habitat resilience and linkages for wildlife. Habitat loss and fragmentation are major contributors to biodiversity decline across the region with many fauna species once widespread in the Margaret River region now rare or restricted in range.
Nature Conservation’s ‘Managing Bushland for Wildlife Program’ works with landowners to bring back wildlife to high conservation bushland areas in the region. As many of these areas extend across property boundaries considerable challenges are involved in promoting an integrated, whole-of-system approach. The long term aim of the program is to improve habitat values, build more resilient ecosystems and greater species richness.
Threatened Species Protection
Nature Conservation is working to protect many unique species currently at risk in the Margaret River region include the critically endangered Western Ringtail Possum, Margaret River Hairy Marron and three species of black cockatoos, the Carnaby, Baudins and Red Tailed Black Cockatoos. Threatened native fish species are also a focus as an indicator of the ecological health of our waterways.
Through partnerships with State government agencies, local government and organisations such as Birdlife WA and in accordance with recovery plans for these species Nature Conservation focuses on raising public awareness of conservation status, increasing understanding of species distribution through citizen science surveying and assisting with on-ground conservation action where necessary.
The ‘Our Patch’ Environmental Education Program delivered by Nature Conservation increases ecological awareness through engagement with nature and involvement in local conservation issues and programs. The program fosters our future environmental stewards inspiring children to value, respect and care for nature. ‘Our Patch’ currently works with over 500 Year 3 and Year 6 students from 8 local primary schools in the region.
Another Nature Conservation program, ‘Adopt a Spot’, connects local schools to an area of bushland, river foreshore or coastline in the region. This further connects young people with nature and engages school communities in long term environmental restoration projects and forms long term partnerships with local ‘Friends of Reserve’ volunteer groups.