Wooditjup Bilya Protection Strategy launched to the community

The Margaret River Community came together on 23 November at Rotary Park to launch the Wooditjup Bilya Protection Strategy. A 2019 Community Update outlining current progress against the actions in the Strategy was also presented to the community.

The Wooditjup Bilya Protection Strategy provides a guide for management of the Margaret River over the next ten years. The Strategy has been developed through a partnership with the Shire of Augusta Margaret River, in collaboration with the Margaret River Collaborative Management Group. The Collaborative Management Group represents our indigenous custodians and a range of stakeholders including local government, State government agencies with responsibilities for the river, and local community environment groups including Nature Conservation and the Margaret River Regional Environmental Centre.

Following a moving Welcome to Country by Wadandi custodian , Zac Webb, Dr John Cresswell, Chair, Nature Conservation  Margaret River Region launched the Strategy to the community.

Dr Cresswell said,  ‘It was especially pleasing to have the support of our local indigenous custodians for future collaborative management of the river. The river holds special cultural significance to the Wadandi people and we are honoured to be assisting to protect these values for the future. We are also honoured that the Wooditjup Bilya Protection Strategy we are launching today bears the Wadandi name for the river – Wooditjup Bilya and that we have been given the opportunity to showcase the beautiful six season indigenous artwork by local custodian, Sandra Hill throughout the Protection Strategy’.

The collaborative management process was funded by a State Nature Resource Management Program Grant and supported by the Shire of Augusta Margaret River’s Environmental Management Fund. This funding enabled Nature Conservation to engage a one day a week Margaret River Protection Officer over the past 18 months to work with the Collaborative Management Group to develop the Protection Strategy.

Following a few words from Deputy Shire President, Pauline McLeod about the great work the Shire is doing to protect the river and an outline of the vision and objectives of the Strategy by Katie Biggs, Nature Conservation’s Margaret River Protection Officer, members of the public were treated to a cultural walk along the banks of the Margaret River led by Wadandi Cultural Custodian, Zac Webb.