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Reef Aid

Working on Country at Palm Creek and Mungalla Station

Mungalla Station, owned by the Nywaigi Aboriginal people, is a special piece of country steeped in cultural history, brimming with life and encompassing 230 ha of wetlands, key to the health of the Great Barrier Reef. We are working alongside the property’s Traditional Owners to create new wetland habitat, control weeds and improve grazing management.

Mungalla Station is located on the coastal planes of the Herbert River valley about 15km east of Ingham, and consists of 807 hectares of freehold land and a 20.5 hectare lease made up of cleared grazing lands, forest on sand ridges and freshwater wetlands.

These coastal wetlands connect directly to Halifax Bay Wetlands National Park and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and are valuable for their wetland plants, fish, birds and invertebrate life.

 

The Challenge

Changes in the lower Herbert River catchment and to Mungalla Station over the past 100 years have dramatically affected the wetlands, leaving them vulnerable to environmental threats.

On the land the property was suffering from damage by cattle and feral pigs, altered fire regimes, exotic weeds and grasses, and changes to woody vegetation.

In the water, invasion by exotic fish, aquatic weeds and ponded pasture grasses, as well as changes to water quality due to land management practices, had left the wetlands struggling.

Weed species, such as Water hyacinth and Salvinia, and introduced species including Olive hymenachne and Para grass now dominate large areas of the freshwater wetlands.

The Solution

Greening Australia is working in partnership with the Traditional Owners of Mungalla Station and partners to help restore the property’s valuable wetlands and strengthen its cultural values. The project builds on critical restoration work that Mungalla Aboriginal Business Corporation has completed to date with research agency, CSIRO.

Mungalla is one of several properties in Palm Creek where Greening Australia is working with landholders to improve grazing management practices to encourage healthy wetlands, reduce the spread of invasive aquatic weeds, and revegetate wildlife corridors. Collectively, these actions will restore the overall resilience of these wetlands and improve water quality flowing to the Great Barrier Reef.

The projects will assist local communities to protect and restore areas of high conservation value through natural water management, research and development.

Greening Australia is also working with stakeholders to build the capacity of the community through education programs, engaging with land owners, and working with Indigenous and landholder groups to undertake environmental monitoring.

Relationships like the one at Mungalla are critical to the success of Reef Aid, with commitment from landholders to steward the land helping to ensure the health of the reef into the future.

 

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This Reef Aid project is funded by the Australian Government’s Reef Trust, Ian Potter Foundation, Accor Hotels and Virgin Australia.

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