Annual Report

Northern Agricultural Catchments Council


Chair & CEO Reports

Rob Keogh - NACC Chair

Rob Keogh, Chair

“It is my opinion that the NACC scorecard for 2016/17 is overwhelmingly positive. We have made progress on all fronts, and excelled on some. We have met or exceeded our benchmarks for all projects, and for some we have received great feedback and national recognition.”

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NACC CEO Richard McLellan headshot

Richard McLellan, CEO

“We have become a very tight-knit and efficient machine, with everyone prepared to do whatever it takes to ensure we are at our best, “punching above our weight”, and getting the best possible return-on-investment for our funders and supporters.”

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Organisation Overview

"On the organisational performance front NACC was ranked amongst the top regional NRM organisations in Australia when audited by the Australian Government, and closer to home, we were recently recognised with the Mid-West Business Excellence Community Spirit Award."

- Rob Keogh, Chair

Organisation Highlights

A Growing Profile: NACC Brand & Community

Local Media

Coastal and Marine Projects Officer Vanessa McGuiness prepares to speak on camera with GWN7 reporter Laura Birch.

During 2016-17, the NACC name has been circulated far and wide throughout the region thanks to a healthy relationship with the local media.

The Communications team delivered 40 media releases and provided 37 comments to the local print and radio media. We were also invited to comment on camera for a GWN7 news segment.

Through print, radio and television we have been engaging with communities more effectively.

Social Media

NACC’s Twitter following increased by 40% this year to more than 4,000 as at June 2017

The NACC Communications team has maintained a very active presence across social media. Additionally, NACC staff and board members dedicated themselves to the social media front, taking hundreds of photos and sharing stories and projects online in a bid to engage the community.

This led to a significant increase in social media reach, with NACC’s Twitter following increasing from 2,877 followers in June 2016 to more than 4,000 in June 2017. Our increased engagement with the local community via Facebook saw an increase from 747 to 1,105 Facebook followers.

Website Traffic

More than half of all website traffic was from new visitors and June 2017 recorded the highest amount of hits for the year

According to Google Analytics, NACC’s website has seen a healthy increase of engagement and activity over the past year.

The amount of visits to the website increased to more than 70,781 page views from 17,966 users during the past financial year. More than 50 per cent of the 32,874 website sessions were initiated by new visitors and June 2017 recorded the highest amount of website traffic for the year.

Program Impact

"It is with great pride that I report that NACC was accredited with achieving excellent rankings in all 20 of the [National NRM Groups’] assessment criteria, placing it in the top four or five NRM groups in the country. The Auditors saluted NACC for its outstanding “Best Practice” efforts in a range of key areas.."

- Richard McLellan, CEO
Program Photo - The ealry bird gets the worm (or in this case the early twitcher gets the bird!)

The early bird gets the worm (or in this case the early twitcher gets the bird!)

“It’s been particularly gratifying to see that, through our various partnerships with groups and individuals in our region, we have achieved significant on-ground outcomes for the conservation of key biodiversity assets, threatened species, and threatened ecological communities. I’m looking forward to continuing to work closely with our local land managers, and achieving even more environmental and community outcomes for the region in the years ahead."

- Jessica Stingemore, Biodiversity Program Coordinator

During the past year, NACC’s Biodiversity Program team has been working hard engaging with local land managers and working with them to protect the region’s biodiversity.

The team continues to utilise NACC Notes and various social media platforms to share program outcomes, on both private and public land. Through the sharing of these stories, the team believes it not only further promotes great works, but also champions the work of NACC’s partners as natural resource management leaders.

Among the many highlights of the last 12 months for the Biodiversity team has been finalising a publication entitled Biodiversity Conservation In WA: A Regional NRM Perspective in partnership with NRM WA.

This paper, for which NACC took a lead role in its development, focuses on how to best adopt innovative and adaptive NRM practices in Western Australia, in hopes of conserving biodiversity and enhancing the value and resilience of ecosystems, habitats and landscapes.

Adding to community engagement works, the Biodiversity Program team was a proud sponsor of The Challenge of Change: Managing Landscapes for the Future forum during the 2016 Blues for the Bush family festival on Charles Darwin Reserve east of Perenjori. This forum not only provided an opportunity for farming leaders to share their knowledge and experience, but also allowed NACC to contribute to an important community event in the region.

A partnership with Rangelands NRM during the last year resulted in the Biodiversity team making a significant contribution to the inaugural National Science Week ‘Science in Shark Bay’ Hamelin Station Science Festival at Bush heritage Australia’s Hamelin Station Reserve.

NACC was also proud to support a group of Follow The Dream students from John Willcock College to attend the Science Festival. See the Shark Bay Science Around Us report for more details.

Biodiversity Highlights

Biodiversity Projects

In a multi-staged project Burakin farmer Mal Sutherland has protected more than 110 hectares of remnant vegetation on his property, ‘Rocky View’.

Protecting Priority and Threatened Flora and Fauna

Local farmer Keith Carter joining up the Land For Widlife

Land For Wildlife

Ripped Lines at a planting site at Bush Heritage's Eurardy Reserve

Biodiversity Community Grants

More than twenty people hiked, canoed and cooed their way around the Murchison River nestled in Kalbarri National Park.

Biodiversity Community Engagement

DBCA andf NACC staff planting Declared Rare Fauna at Moresby Range

Threatened Species Recovery

Feral cat captured by local land manager

Feral Fix

Seedling propagation with the team from Greening Australia

20 Million Trees

BCMI and NACC staff showcasing project works to Australian Government

Abrolhos Islands Restoration

Invasive Swordtails found in the Greenough River

Aquatic Pest Research in Mid West WA

Biodiversity Staff

The following staff members contributed to the Biodiversity Program in 2016-17:

  • Dr Jessica Stingemore – Biodiversity Program Coordinator
  • Lizzie King – Biodiversity Project Officer
  • Marieke Jansen – NRM Officer
  • Heather Legge – NRM Officer

  • Jude Sutherland – NRM Officer
  • Sarah Gilleland – NRM Officer
  • Rodger Walker – NRM Officer

The delivery of this program is supported by a full team of NACC staff working across the Northern Agricultural Region. View a full list of NACC staff near you.


NACC support of Northern Agri Group Spring Field Day at Binnu in 2016

"It is exciting to see the broad range of partnerships that are being developed across the NACC NRM Region through the Sustainable Agriculture Program. These partnerships will ensure a productive, innovative and environmentally sustainable agricultural industry into the future."

- Sally Fenner, Sustainable Agriculture Program Coordinator

NACC’s Sustainable Agriculture Program team has had a busy year working with local land managers, community groups and industry experts to promote and support practices that will contribute to maintaining the productivity, profitability and environmental sustainability of the NAR.

Regional projects undertaken by the Sustainable Agriculture Program in Financial Year 2016-17 have focused on research and on-ground management. This has been achieved through the delivery of Australian Government National Landcare Programme funded projects such as farm demonstrations and farm planning, as well as engaging the community through events, workshops, and multi-media communications.

The Regional Landcare Facilitator project has benefited from significant engagement with local Landcare groups, grower groups, individual landholders, and schools through the provision of grants and support for capacity-building activities. NACC’s field staff have also worked hand-in-hand with landholders to identify issues, undertake projects, and provide information and tools to support on-ground action.  Regional stakeholders engaged in the planning and delivery of NACC’s Sustainable Agriculture program activities have included the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), grower groups, industry organisations, volunteer Landcare groups, environmental groups, and individual private land managers.

NACC’s Sustainable Agriculture Program team has also been engaging with small landholders through a new WA State NRM Office-funded project that was launched this year. This project is aimed at encouraging small landholders to improve their capacity to manage their properties sustainably. Relevant information has been disseminated through a series of workshops, guiding participants through a range of key topics, such as farm planning, weed management and fire management.

Collaboration has been a key part of NACC’s Sustainable Agriculture program in 2016- 17. NACC is continuing to support and promote collaboration and cooperation between the local organisations participating under the umbrella partnership of NARSAN – the Northern Agricultural Region Sustainable Agriculture Network. NACC is also working with other WA regional NRM groups to deliver sustainable agriculture activities, and working with a broad range of landholders and groups from the grazing, cropping and horticulture sectors.

Sustainable Agriculture Highlights

Sustainable Agriculture Projects

Morawa Western Australian College of Agriculture Field Trip

Agriculture Community Engagement & Capacity Building

Euan Beamont, Sarah Jeffery Bao Duy Nguyen and Sally Fenner at Sun City Produce demonstration site

Farm Demonstrations

Stuart McAlpine

Farm Planning

Perenjori NARSAN Meeting
NAG spring field

Regional Landcare Facilitator

Josh Byrne

Small Landholders

Sustainable Agriculture Staff

The following staff members contributed to the Sustainable Agriculture Program in 2016-17:

  • Sally Fenner – Sustainable Agriculture Program Coordinator
  • Stanley Yokwe – Regional Landcare Facilitator
  • Callum Love – Sustainable Agriculture Project Manager
  • Sarah Jeffery – Sustainable Agriculture Project Manager
  • Heather Legge – NRM Officer

  • Sarah Gilleland – NRM Officer
  • Rodger Walker – NRM Officer
  • Jude Sutherland – NRM Officer
  • Marieke Jansen – NRM Officer

The delivery of this program is supported by a full team of NACC staff working across the Northern Agricultural Region. View a full list of NACC staff near you.

A record turn out for Geraldton's Big Beach Clean up – 307 kg of rubbish was collected, sorted and recorded

A record turn out for Geraldton's Big Beach Clean up – 307 kg of rubbish was collected, sorted and recorded

“I am particularly proud of the Coastal and Marine team’s achievements this year. Winning a national award for community engagement was a fitting tribute to a hard-working team that loves collaborating with our passionate community. Good planning this year means that we look set to target on-ground activities in the next year.”

- Dr Mic Payne, Coastal & Marine Program Coordinator

The 2016-17 financial year has been one of immense success for NACC’s Coastal and Marine (C&M) program. The C&M team has maintained a high level of community engagement and capacity-building whilst directing successful on-ground works aimed at improving our region’s coastal environment.

Reflecting its commitment to NACC’s Mission (“Catalysing Community Conservation”), the team – which prides itself on its high level of community engagement to advance sustainable natural resource management across the NACC NRM region – was judged the winners of the Coastal Community Engagement Award at the Australian Coastal Councils Association (ACCA) annual conference – held in Redcliffe, Queensland.

A total of 52 activities were organised or supported by the C&M team during the year many of which involved partnerships with key coastal stakeholders – primarily community groups and local government authorities. These activities included training workshops, field days, and presentations across a broad range of coastal topics. A highlight for the year was the establishment of a new Coastcare group in Geraldton – the Batavia Coastcare Network. The program also released its third smartphone app, the Coastal Plant Pocket Guide, and completed a best-practise video on how to conduct a revegetation planting event.

On-ground activities focused on weed control and revegetation of degraded dunes. African Boxthorn control works were completed around the Irwin River estuary and Chapman Valley coastal dunes. Pyp Grass control was undertaken in Cervantes and Jurien Bay, and the Guilderton Pyp Grass Management Plan was completed. The Regional Boxthorn Control Strategy was also further developed, following stakeholder consultation. Coastcare groups were supported for a range of dune revegetation activities in Geraldton, Jurien Bay, Cervantes, Chapman Valley, Ledge Point, Seabird and Guilderton.

Community monitoring remained a substantial part of the program with the successful maintenance of the Photomon beach monitoring program. Coastwest funding enabled expansion of the Heathy Estuaries project to include both the Moore and Hill River estuaries. Community interest in this project remains strong. No further seabird monitoring was undertaken, as the project focus shifted more towards the analysis and publication of existing tracking data.

Funding was secured from the WA State NRM Office to develop Photomon Services which will enable other NRM organisations to assess the Photomon photo storage database system on a cost-recovery subscription basis. Fifteen trial accounts have been established for groups from around Australia.

Coastal & Marine Highlights

Coastal & Marine Projects

A NACC Coastal Community Grant enabled the Seabird Progress Association and Shire of Gingin to plant 3,000 seedlings with the aim of stabilising dunes behind coastal protection works.

Coastal Hazard Risk Management & Adaptation

It was heads down during Julie Firths’ coastal garden planning exercise at the Geraldton workshop.

Coastal Native Garden Guides

Friends of Moore River Estuary community volunteers doing what they do best.

Healthy Estuaries

Volunteers assisted with field trips to locate Noddy terns previously fitted with trackers (yet they remained elusive).

Seabird Monitoring

Aboriginal intern Paula Slater receiving training on the intricacies of using Photomon for beach monitoring.

Community Photo Monitoring

A new automatic hydraulic cut-and-paste tool for boxthorn control is unveiled at the Regional Boxthorn Control Strategy workshop

African Boxthorn Control

The Jurien Bay Regional Herbarium Group conducts the annual quadrat survey of control sites.

Pyp Grass Control

How much wrack can be removed from the beach without impacting our productive coastal ecosystems? More work is needed.

Beach Wrack Quantification

It was another great turn-out and result for this beach clean-up in Green Head.

Beach Clean Ups

A smartphone app version of our popular Coastal Plant Pocket Guide is a great resource for Coastcare groups.

Community Engagement

– A Quick Step grant assisted the Conservation Council of WA promote their apparatus for separating microplastics from samples of sand for various beaches.

Coastal Community Grants

A blowy Geraldton afternoon didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of students from the Primary Extension and Challenge program in the Midwest.

Appreciate Your Beach

Coastal & Marine Staff

The following staff members contributed to the Coastal & Marine Program in 2016-17:

  • Dr Mic Payne – Coastal and Marine Program Coordinator
  • Hamish Longbottom – Coastal and Marine Project Manager

  • Vanessa McGuiness – Coastal and Marine Project Officer
  • Tegan Clarke – Photomon Services Project Officer

The delivery of this program is supported by a full team of NACC staff working across the Northern Agricultural Region. View a full list of NACC staff near you.

Four language groups sharing information during a Women’s Bush food excursion in 2017. Picture: Nadine Smith

Aboriginal women refreshing their strength and knowledge on country, keeping themselves, families and country strong.

"Since the employment of the new Aboriginal Liaison Officer our program has been able to develop more support and inclusion of Traditional Ecological Knowledge and we are being led by Aboriginal community needs that also align with the State NRM strategy.”

- Greg Burrows, Aboriginal Participation Program Coordinator

The Aboriginal Participation Program has grown a great deal over the past twelve months and much of this growth has been due to the development and implementation of an Aboriginal Cultural Awareness program at NACC, and a Reconciliation Action Plan – called Reflect.

The Reflect program was officially endorsed by Reconciliation Australia during Reconciliation Week in 2017, and NACC is proud to be joining this national journey and making a positive contribution to Aboriginal people in the wider community.

In the last year NACC has been busy promoting Traditional Ecological Knowledge through art and the team has reached a huge audience through this work. A highlight for the program this year was the commissioning of a special artwork by a local Aboriginal artist. This work was designed to represent the Yamatji region and both the artist and NACC staff worked closely with a graphic designer to ensure the artwork remained authentic to the original design. The artwork has since been printed on merchandise including shirts and postcards and has been well received by the community. To celebrate the Reconciliation Action Plan launch, NACC enlisted the community to help champion the acknowledgement of TEK by signing up to NACC as a member and wearing the shirt for Reconciliation Week. NACC received over 30 new submissions during the Week including many new Aboriginal memberships.

NACC’s Aboriginal Participation Team has supported the City of Greater Geraldton’s Aboriginal Green Army team in partnership with Geraldton Streetwork Aboriginal Corporation. Together they conducted NRM works at Gunnado Farm and within the City’s boundary, carrying out certificate CALM training.

As has been the case in recent years, NACC’s Aboriginal Prisoner capacity-building project – delivered in partnership with Central Regional TAFE and the Greenough Regional Prison – has continued to ‘fly the flag’ in the field. Additionally, NACC Aboriginal Program staff have undertaken numerous activities aimed at increasing Aboriginal participation in NRM, and incorporating Traditional Ecological Knowledge in other core program and project activities.

NACC is also proud to support established Aboriginal NRM businesses and also emerging Aboriginal NRM businesses created for the eco-tourism market. As a result of this hard work, the Aboriginal Participation team received a nomination for the Midwest Business Excellence Awards which was a fitting conclusion to a great year of community consultation.

Aboriginal Participation Highlights

Aboriginal Participation Projects

National NAIDOC Elder of the Year 2015 Mr Graham Taylor with students from Beachlands Primary School. Looking at Walgu 2016

Engaging the Aboriginal Community in NRM

Agarve spraying at Chapman River

Capacity Building for Prison Inmates

Participants take in the scenery.

Aboriginal Green Army & Ranger Team

Chapman River with BCMI Tilapia project

Sharing Traditional Ecological Knowledge

Aboriginal Participation Staff

The following staff members contributed to the Aboriginal Participation Program in 2016-17:

  • Greg Burrows – Aboriginal Participation Program Coordinator
  • Bianca McNeair – Aboriginal Liaison Officer
  • Rolan Deutekom – MERI Coordinator
  • Sarah Gilleland – NRM Officer

  • Dr Jessica Stingemore – Biodiversity Program Coordinator
  • Lizzie King – Biodiversity Project Officer
  • Marieke Jansen – NRM Officer

The delivery of this program is supported by a full team of NACC staff working across the Northern Agricultural Region. View a full list of NACC staff near you.

AFL - kids recycling 3

Kids recycling at an AFL game

"The NACC team is committed to planning for the future and strongly encourages innovation across our organisation. In the past year there has been a number of exciting, community-orientated projects added to the NACC calendar and these developments have all experienced a great deal of success. The innovative projects created by NACC have seen our staff encourage recycling across the Geraldton region, support local businesses and schools in on-ground environmental activities and implement a new geographic information system which allows community groups to map their own data capture."

- Richard McLellan, CEO

Innovation Projects

GRID homepage
AFL kids recycling

Reduce Your Use & Recycle

Iluka Dune Planting Site 3 at Buller

Elevate Your Impact


"Thanks to Bev Logue for her service as Treasurer for most of the year. The Auditor advised NACC has effective systems. I also thank him for his kind words to me noting my time served in the NACC Audit Committee and as Treasurer of the organisation."

- Yvonne Marsden, Acting Treasurer

Funding by Program

Funding by Source