More than $1.8 million worth of Community Stewardship Grants directed toward Great Southern projects

Stuart McGuckinAlbany Advertiser
South Coast NRM has been awarded almost $400,000 to help supports it citizen science Right Whale Tracker project.
Camera IconSouth Coast NRM has been awarded almost $400,000 to help supports it citizen science Right Whale Tracker project. Credit: Georgia Campion

More than $1.8 million of State Government funding will be shared by Great Southern projects aiming to conserve the region’s environment.

Five Great Southern projects were among the 24 recipients officially awarded Community Stewardship Grants this week.

The grants cater for projects that require between $50,000 and $450,000 and run for up to three years.

The Fitzgerald Biosphere will be boosted by two of those grants with one awarded to the Fitzgerald Biosphere Group and another to the Dieback Working Group.

FBG was granted $435,948 for its Beyond the Salt Struggle project, which aims to build on the foundation of work already done by the group to tackle salinity concerns, promoting peer-to-peer learning and engaging farmers within the Shire of Jerramungup.

The $172,296 grant to DWG will allow it to work with Binalup Aboriginal Corporation on its Dieback Unearthed project aiming to deliver effective education and generate positive changes for environmental biosecurity hygiene.

It will have a particular focus on bolstering awareness of stakeholders surrounding the Fitzgerald River National Park, which is one of the last dieback-free wilderness areas in south-western Australia.

Gondwana Link has been awarded a $163,187 grant to help heal the lower Pallinup River, which the organisation describes as being “ecologically significant, culturally rich, not well managed and at risk from increasing pressures”.

The project will result in the development of a Noongar-led healthy country plan, allowing elders who traditionally shared the area to come together to identify how they will care for the waterway.

Torbay Catchment Group will receive $180,969 to implement recovery plans and conservation within its section of the Great Southern coastal macro corridor.

The best available science and scientists will be used by the Wilson Inlet Catchment Committee to preserve remnant vegetation and strategically place nesting boxes to help black cockatoos courtesy of a $304,882 grant.

South Coast Natural Resource Management will also receive a grant to the value of $394,423 to support its Right Whale Tracker project which is listed as being multi-regional.

SCNRM executive engagement manager Johanna Tomlinson said knowledge of Southern Right Whales off WA’s south coast was lacking and the species remained vulnerable to threats from human activities.

“Right Whale Tracker is a project that improves the capability of communities, including citizen scientists and Indigenous Australians to measure and monitor the population demographics and recovery of southern right whales in Australia,” she said.

“The project fills critical knowledge gaps to improve the species’ conservation outcome, and empowers the community to engage directly in conservation-based management actions.”

Over the project’s three-years, the funding will allow for the running of workshops, the delivery of a rigorous citizen science program, land and vessel-based citizen science surveys and the purchase of specialist equipment.

“As the project is started, we will let the community how to interact,” Ms Tomlinson said.

“The project will build on the core volunteer base of the South Coast Cetaceans group, and also introduce opportunities to new volunteers.”

A further five Great Southern projects were awarded small Community Stewardship Grants grants, which can range from $1000 to $50,000 and have a duration of up to 18 months.

The Bibbulmun Track Foundation has been granted $27,871 to replace a section of steps on a steep section of the track near Lake Williams.

Cranbrook’s Gillami Centre has been awarded $34,046 to boost resources and critical information on its Saltland Genie WebApp and $33,100 will go towards North Stirlings Pallinup Natural Resources developing its Bilya Classroom project.

The FBG and WICC will each also receive small grants of $46,284 and $47,886 respectively for separate projects in addition to their large grants.

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