The Normanton Ranger Group has, with assistance from a Northern Gulf Resource Management Group Caring for our Country Project, been able to build a seclusion fence around a significant wetland. A key focus of this and other projects the Normanton Rangers have been working on has been monitoring the effectiveness of these management actions, which the rangers have done using I-Tracker Management and developing their own monitoring methodologies.
In August 2012 the rangers did a baseline biodiversity survey at Lotus Lagoon on Delta Downs Station, prior to exclusion fencing the wetland. The rangers stated aim for this part of the project was:
Looking after and understanding the country, and bringing the wetland back to what it was like before introduced animals.
The biodiversity survey around Lotus Lagoon was very successful. The methodology rangers developed has enabled them to gain a thorough understanding about the habitat values of the wetland, what species live there and how bad the pig damage was. Through trapping, spotlighting, electro fishing surveys, nocturnal spy cameras and recording incidental sightings rangers recorded 119 native species at Lotus Lagoon.
Total number of native species recorded during survey:
- Birds 78
- Reptiles 12
- Mammals 8
- Frogs 8
- Crustaceans 3
- Fish 10
- Total 119
These results show that Lotus Lagoon is an important habitat and wildlife refuge for many different animals. Although it is a working cattle property it has been managed so that country still supports a high level of biodiversity. This is a credit to Morr Morr Pastoral Holding / Delta Downs Station and the Kurtijar People.
After the biodiversity survey, rangers started on the exclusion fence. This was a significant job to complete as the fence was seven kilometers long, protecting approximately 200 hectares of wetland and providing an off-point watering source for the cattle. Normanton Rangers did one week of fencing training and then erected the fence on their own which took another three weeks. The Rangers were very impressed with the training delivered by Jimmy Boag, which was clear and enjoyable.
Overall the rangers feel that this biodiversity and wetland survey component of the project, and the exclusion fencing, was very successful. Everyone is really looking forward to seeing what Lotus will look like in the future. The Normanton Rangers have a great sense of pride that they are managing this project themselves and that it is happening on Kurtijar Country and on Indigenous owned Delta Downs Station. Lotus Lagoon will be enjoyed and looked after by future generations.
Thanks to Senior Head Ranger, Paul Richardson