Restoring Pilbara’s tussock grasslands

Greening Australia is working with pastoral and Indigenous land managers to restore the diverse tussock grasslands of the Pilbara this wet season.

Creek system with tussock grasses , on the Leramugadu Lease

Creek system with tussock grasses , on the Leramugadu Lease

The work, which is part of the Pilbara Corridors Project, aims to restore degraded tussock grassland in two areas approximately 100km southeast of Karratha; one on the Leramugadu Lease and the other on Mulga Downs pastoral lease.

Tussock Grasslands were identified as an important asset of the Pilbara region during conservation action planning workshops run in 2015, due to their supporting a high number of priority flora species.

Pip Short, Senior Project Officer at Greening Australia, said these native species grasslands, which make up less than 3.5 per cent of the Pilbara, occur mostly on alluvial plains, gilgai plains and drainage tracts.

“Due to the grasses being highly palatable and preferred by cattle, they are particularly vulnerable to degradation from grazing,” she said.

“This has led to some sites, such as the Leramugadu Lease, being recognised as a Priority Ecological Community by the Department of Parks and Wildlife.”

The initial stages of the restoration work will involve seed collection with Ngurrawaana Rangers and other Yindjibarndi people trained in how to collect the grass seeds. This will be followed by fencing of the restoration areas to exclude grazing herbivores, direct seeding of areas and on-going monitoring to evaluate success of on ground works.

Pilbara Corridors Program Manager Ian Cotton said the project seeks to continue to build on the collaborative efforts that have been established in the Fortescue Catchment.

“We are successfully working on a landscape-scale, across management boundaries and bringing people together to deliver effective land management,” Mr Cotton said.

“This collaboration between the Yindjibarndi people, the Ngurrawaana Rangers and Greening Australia to improve the health of country on our lease is a good example of what organisations can do to the benefit of the land and to the people living on it,” Lorraine Coppin, Juluwarlu CEO said.

Pilbara Corridors (www.pilbaracorridors.com.au) is a partnership between Greening Australia, Rangelands NRM and the Department of Parks and Wildlife, funded by the Australian Government. If you are interested in finding out more about this project, or any of Greening Australia’s other programs, please contact Pip Short at pshort@greeningaustralia.org.au or jump onto their Facebook page “Greening Australia – Pilbara”.