The enormous estuarine wetland complex that lines the southern coasts of the Gulf of Carpentaria is the largest of its type in Australia. Listed as nationally-important wetlands, the wetlands are of particular cultural importance to the traditional owners of the region, who have made them their home for tens of thousands of years.
Formal conservation reserves in the wetlands are scarce although the declarations of the Thuwathu/Bujimulla and Nijinda Durlga (Gangalidda) Indigenous Protected Areas are positive steps towards the conservation of an important portion of the wetland systems. Traditional Owners have also supported the process of ensuring the significance of these wetlands is recognised through their listing as migratory bird flyways under the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership.
The majority of the wetland system falls within extensive cattle grazing leasehold land. Conservation of wetland values depends on the cooperation and support of the pastoralists responsible for management of this landscape.
In a partnership with the Carpentaria Land Council Aboriginal Corporation, Southern Gulf NRM is working with pastoralists to implement measures that will enable them to improve management of cattle in relation to the wetlands. Spelling sensitive wetland environments during the wet season is one important way to protect values, but this requires fencing and other management investments. With support from Southern Gulf NRM and the Carpentaria Land Council Aboriginal Corporation, cattle properties will be able to play their important part in protecting these sensitive and precious wetlands.
Project Partners: Carpentaria Land Council Aboriginal Corporation – and relevant Traditional Owners; Property Managers
Project Funding: Australian Government National Landcare Program; Carpentaria Land Council Aboriginal Corporation
Gulf of Carpentaria Wetlands