30/10/2007 - 14:32

State seeks comment on Millstream-Chichester National Park

30/10/2007 - 14:32


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The State Government is seeking public comment on the future management of the Millstream-Chichester National Park, in the Pilbara, Environment Minister David Templeman has announced.

State seeks comment on Millstream-Chichester National Park

The State Government is seeking public comment on the future management of the Millstream-Chichester National Park, in the Pilbara, Environment Minister David Templeman has announced.



The full text of a Ministerial announcement is pasted below

The State Government today called for public comment on the future management of one of Western Australia's most significant indigenous cultural and mythological sites - Millstream-Chichester National Park.

Environment Minister David Templeman today released for public comment a 10-year blueprint for the management of the important national park, as well as the nearby Mungaroona Range Nature Reserve, which contained important wetland ecosystems and endemic flora and fauna.

"The draft plan outlines strategies to effectively manage the park and reserve over the next decade in relation to protecting the area's natural, recreation, cultural, economic and educational values," Mr Templeman said.

"Both the Millstream-Chichester National Park and the Mungaroona Range Nature Reserve are important areas in the Pilbara's conservation reserve system, together comprising an area of approximately 306,000 ha, with a further 81,000 ha proposed to be added to the park.

"Joint management with indigenous people is a key component of the 10-year vision for the park and reserve, and preparation of the draft management plan has been guided by the Millstream Park Council.

"The council's 12 members represent the Yindjibarndi and Ngarluma community, whose country covers the planning area.

"The draft management plan is the first of its kind, in that components are written in the language of the Yindjibarndi and Ngarluma people.

"This innovation is symbolic of the Conservation Commission of WA and Department of Environment and Conservation's (DEC) commitment to the joint management of the area for cultural as well as natural values."

The Minister said the park was also significant in that the Millstream aquifer maintained the permanent springs and associated wetland ecosystems along the Fortescue River.

"This in conjunction with the Harding Dam provides the public water supply for the towns of Karratha, Dampier, Roebourne, Wickham and Point Samson and the nearby industrial developments, making effective management essential," he said.

Mr Templeman said the draft plan was prepared by DEC on behalf of the Conservation Commission of WA in consultation with the local community.

"The draft plan proposes a number of strategies to ensure the protection of the values of the park and reserve, while at the same time improving visitor experiences," he said.

"The park provides significant recreational activities including camping, bushwalking, picnicking and four-wheel driving.

"The construction of the Millstream Link highway, eventually connecting Karratha and Tom Price, will pass through the park, making it more quickly and readily accessible and doubling visitation.

"New facilities and infrastructure will be required to provide safe quality visitor experiences that protect the sensitive environment.

"The establishment of the Warlu Way drive will link the iconic sites of the Pilbara region while providing opportunities for indigenous business.

"In addition, under the Landbank program, the plan proposes the development of low-impact, nature-based tourism accommodation and together these developments will result in the park becoming a key destination in the region."

Strategies outlined in the draft plan included:

- the continued implementation of joint management with the Yindjibarndi and Ngarluma people through the Millstream Park Council;
- the recognition and protection of the culturally significant indigenous sites within the Millstream-Chichester National Park and the associated management of these (e.g. the closure of the Deep Reach Pool camping area due to its cultural importance);
- the development of indigenous business opportunities, particularly those associated with cultural tourism;
- the management of water extraction from the Millstream aquifer to ensure the protection of aquifer-dependent wetlands and other ecosystems;
- the proposed gazettal of the entire Mungaroona Range Nature Reserve as a wilderness area;
- the management of increased visitation resulting from the construction of the sealed highway from Karratha and passing through the park;
- the control of impacts of introduced plants, in particular, Parkinsonia, date palm, Indian water fern and ruby dock; and
- fire management practices and regimes focused on biodiversity outcomes and reducing the risk of large wildfires.

Mr Templeman said community input was an essential part of preparing management plans for conservation reserves and encouraged people to get involved in the process.

"This is just another way the Carpenter Government is acting now for the future to ensure our magnificent environment can be enjoyed by generations to come," the Minister said.

The public comment period will be open for two months ending on January 11, 2008. Copies of the plan can be obtained from DEC's Kensington office in Perth, the Pilbara Regional office in Karratha, the Exmouth District office in Exmouth and the Midwest Regional office in Geraldton. Copies are also available from the Department's website 'NatureBase' at: http://www.naturebase.net/content/view/2332/1183/


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