An environmental champion of the Margaret River region, Genevieve Hanran-Smith, has stepped down after more than two decades of service to Nature Conservation Margaret River Region. But she says she’ll continue campaigning for nature, biodiversity and conservation in the region.
Genevieve has worked with the Cape to Cape Catchments Group, which is now Nature Conservation, since it formed in 2000 in various roles including education officer, river care/biodiversity/weed management project officer, consultant, manager, board member and chair.
She explored and documented the condition of the Margaret River and Cowaramup and Calgardup brooks, and has worked tirelessly in collaborative action to protect and rehabilitate these waterways. Then she worked on the lower Margaret River foreshore action plan and brought together the Wooditjup Bilya Protection Strategy and a collaborative river management group.
“I’ve watched with pleasure the work undertaken since the development of the Margaret River Action Plan in 2003. So much has occurred since the plan was completed including fencing to keep stock out of the foreshore, construction of two fishways, control of invasive environmental weeds, foreshore revegetation, controlling vehicles in public land, improved knowledge of the flora values, the water quality monitoring program. The community has been getting to know and love the river more every year and I really value the part we have played in protecting it,” she says.
Genevieve worked on a Nature Conservation/Curtin University wine industry partnership from 2007-10 supporting industry to gain sustainable winegrowing certification and best practice winery wastewater management. “The Margaret River wine industry showed a commitment to sustainable winegrowing practices and management and enhancement of biodiversity. It’s excellent to see the Margaret River Wine Association encouraging and supporting the industry in this work,” she says.
She also worked for many years to improve management of environmental weeds to protect remnant vegetation and biodiversity, partnering with government and community to develop the Capes Regional Environmental Weed Strategy and Arum Lily Management Plan, and since 2018 she’s focused on the control of arum lily across the region. The Arum Lily Blitz began in 2019 and has brought together government, more than 1300 landholders, contractors and volunteers to work towards the 20+ year vision to manage arum to protect our unique and beautiful native vegetation.
“I am proud of the significant achievements that we have all made towards this goal and I’m really happy that the State Government recognised our success with a further three years of funding for the Blitz. The increased work in the national park in 2021/22 has also been very encouraging and is a great start on what is needed. I am sad to be no longer leading this amazing collaboration, but the good news is that NCMRR has hired Mike Griffiths to take over. I’m confident he’ll do a fantastic job at the helm. I look forward to continuing my involvement as a landholder and a volunteer.”
Genevieve’s not sure what she will be doing next but without doubt it will be part of Nature Conservation’s vision to work collaboratively, with grit and passion to protect our beautiful region.