Natural Resource Management
Jess Woodley Allen
Natural Resource Management (NRM) is the integrated management of the natural resources that make up Australia’s natural landscapes, such as land, water, soil, plants and animals. That is our land, water and biodiversity assets.
The Noongar people have a long association with the environment of the South West and its natural resources.
The Undalup Association's Chairperson, Iszaac Webb with Board members Wayne and Toni Webb, lead the NRM team and working party.
The Noongar people utilise the natural resources according to their lore, to look after Noongar Boodja (Country). NRM is based on a great deal of research; it is the sustainable management of natural resources, our land, water, marine and biological systems and helping protect our environment’s wellbeing.
The NRM sub-committee is working on some local areas needing our help to preserve and protect Mother Earth. It takes planning and funding to be able to give recognition to such places having Aboriginal history. Spiritual, totemic, and economic relationships with many plants and animals (biodiversity) exist and acknowledgement that Aboriginal people have rights and responsibilities for these places.
Our land's natural resources have spiritual meaning; they provide healing and are valued for the educational and employment opportunities they create. The Aboriginal people’s environmental knowledge associated with our natural resources is of high value to us all and their culture. The management of the environment, both now and in the future, has to be appropriately acknowledged and respected.
The innovation is changing the way the caves are managed and protected, to be known as cultural places – not just geological interest points. This integrated work, sharing of knowledge, and integrating into mainstream management plans, is the way of doing this. This will have flow-on benefits for making the public more aware of the cultural landscape that we all now share.
You'll get an overview of the type of work we've been doing in the region.
Rainbow Cave restoration
Waljin Mia (Rainbow cave) is a sacred cultural place for the Wadandi People of South Western Australia. The cave is part of a complex cultural landscape. The Wadandi Elders look after their cultural places as part of their custodial obligations, which include the variety of plants and animals that inhabit these coastal limestone cliffs.
Unfortunately, these places have been desecrated by visitors, campers and tourists, unaware that their actions are causing direct damage to the cultural and ecological values of these caves.
With a small grant from the Western Australian Department of Aboriginal Affairs, the Undalup Association and Wadandi Custodians are working with community archaeologists from Applied Archaeology International to restore the area, and develop a site management plan to bring awareness for the respectful use of cultural heritage places – that includes protecting the habitat of the many birds, animals and plants linked to this ecosystem.
In protecting this place, they are upholding their cultural protocols while discussing aspects of the cultural significance of this sacred site
Cultural mapping & planning
The Undalup Association is proud to present our recent document on Cultural Mapping and Cultural Planning. For any Cultural Plan to be practical and effective, it requires collaboration. Undalup Board of directors believe in order to be successful at what you do, communication is the key to success.
If heritage laws are not followed or enforced, then laws will continue to be broken. In order to change the ‘Culture” of how policies, projects and procedures are designed and implemented, these laws have to be investigated, enforced and work together in consultation, on the structure and processes that are in place for these laws, where the intent is strategic collaboration and strategic integration with one another to bring positive outcomes for Boodja.
A Community Heritage Preservation Project
LOOKING AFTER KYBRA
The Kybra Heritage Complex requires urgent restoration work. The site is being impacted by weeds, erosion, animals and farming activities. The Traditional owners have been doing this work over the last decade, from what they can, but need ongoing support to continue efforts.
With a small grant from the Western Australian Department of Aboriginal Affairs, the Undalup Association and Wadandi Custodians are working with community archaeologists from Applied Archaeology International to restore the area, and develop a site management plan to bring awareness for the respectful use of cultural heritage places
The plan outlines a 12 month-plan for on-ground action and monitoring while developing a long-term heritage management plan to protect the cultural values and places.
Carry out urgent protection and restoration work at the Kybra Heritage Complex
Develop a cultural heritage management plan for long-term conservation and protection.
Wadandi Elders, youth, cultural custodians and coordinators along with heritage specialists, will work together and carry out all site works that include weed control, fencing and revegetation around the rock art complex within the paddock. A rock art conservator will be engaged to do 3-D mapping of the rock art and link it to wider heritage surveys and assessments. This work will be the platform for developing a condition assessment and monitoring program for cultural values and features.
The 'Mokidup Revitalisation' is a project that is community-led and is project-managed by the Undalup Association Wadandi Traditional Cultural Custodians.
The Wadandi Traditional Cultural Custodians, are those who hold the CCCC, (Continuous Cultural Connection to Country), as the team of Custodians, Archaeologists, facilitators and land care specialists, assess the areas and develop a restoration plan for the Heritage sites, for the restoration works to commence in a Cultural appropriate manner on the site.
The field works under the guidance of the Wadandi Elders and Cultural Custodians' lead towards a more sustainable future aimed at improving the coastal management of Mokidup. A particular focus was on stabilising the dunes, removing local weeds and educating the public on Wadandi history in the area.
As traditional custodians, the Undalup Association has a great deal of relevant knowledge to share in these areas, both with Noongar and European history. The priority will always be looking after Boodja (mother earth) and understanding the relationship with the natural environment. It is essential to look after these cultural places, especially sensitive dune systems and freshwater sources, and to educate the public on Noongar history. The project encouraged a greater understanding to the local visitors and the community on Mokidup and how we must look after this important cultural landscape.