Lots of learning at the 2017 State NRM and Coastal Conference

It’s just as well the WA State NRM and Coastal Conference only comes around every two years, as there’s a lot to learn and absorb from the intense four days of presentations, posters, meetings, events, exhibits and corridor conversations.

NACC was once again well represented at this year’s conference, with all of the NACC presentations and contributions being well received by delegates. It was great to see so many familiar faces from the region on show at Curtin University – with a number of colleagues from local NRM, Landcare and Coastcare groups also in attendance. NACC provided assistance for some of our local community representatives to attend the conference – including Jude Sutherland from the Yarra Yarra Catchment Management Group and Anna Maxted of the Mingenew Irwin Group. Jude and Anna’s attendance was supported by NACC’s Regional Landcare Facilitator Stanley Yokwe, through funding provided by the National Landcare Programme.

NACC CEO Richard McLellan, who chaired one of the sessions and presented a final plenary summary of the conference, said it was an excellent conference – and a very good one for NACC and our partners in particular. Richard singled-out for praise, the team at Moore Catchment Council – who took-out the Landcare Community Group Award at the WA Landcare Awards.

Richard also saluted long-term NACC partners Batavia Coast Maritime Institute (at Central Regional TAFE) who won a Coastcare Award for On-ground Coastal Management.

The team from Batavia Coast Maritime Institute.
The team from Batavia Coast Maritime Institute.

NACC’s very own national award-winning Coastal and Marine team was also finalist at the Coastcare groups section of the WA Awards – but was unfortunately pipped at the post on the night. Program leader Mic Payne said it was an honour just to be a finalist, and thanked the WA Landcare Network for their nomination.

A number of NACC staff gave presentations, for example on Estuary Monitoring, Boxthorn removal and Aboriginal engagement and participation, – or presented conference posters – along with other partners from the region, including the Carnamah Landcare Group (Paulina Wittwer), Moore Catchment Council (Rachel Walmsley), the Conservation Council of WA (Nic Dunlop), the Batavia Coast Maritime Institute (Maryke Gray and Colin Johnson), and the Yarra Yarra Catchment Management Group (Jude Sutherland). (See Jude’s reflections on the conference here.)

Richard expressed thanks to everyone from the NACC NRM region who represented our collective effort in NRM, Landcare and Coastcare, biodiversity conservation and sustainable agriculture. He especially singled-out Carnamah landcare Group convenor Paulina Wittwer, who said during her presentation: “We couldn’t operate without NACC. They’re a great support.”

Other key delegates included NACC partners from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme, WA state government agencies, the WA Landcare Network, and all seven WA NRM groups (NRM_WA).

Key Take-home Messages

In his summation of the conference, Richard said there were a number of recurring strong messages over the four days of the conference, which included:

  • The importance of having Aboriginal people participating and partnering in NRM, reconnecting to country and bringing their unique perspective to NRM.
  • The power of story-telling, of sharing knowledge, experience and lessons learned.
  • The need for work to be done at multiple scales: Local, Regional, State and National.
  • The importance and power of collaboration, of partnerships and working together, and the need for cross-regional collaboration on landscape-scale activities.
  • The power of Passion and Perseverance – especially by the many volunteers and community members who support landcare and Coastcare groups.
  • The massive cumulative impact of local groups and individuals. “Every little bit helps.”
  • The need to communicate the value and the benefits of our natural capital, and our efforts to better protect and manage it.
  • Coastal Hazard Risk Management (CHRMAP) continues to dominate coastal conference content as planners across the state come to grips with the implications of rising sea levels and increasing storm intensity predicted by climate change.

WA Threatened Species Forum

With the conference over at the end of last week, the NACC team’s attention immediately swung-over the WA Threatened Species Forum – which will be held in Geraldton this week – 7-8 September – at the Queens Park Theatre.

See details here, or follow the event via NACC’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, the latter via the event hashtag: #TSforumWA

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