THE Kimberley Pilbara Cattlemen's Association (KPCA), on behalf of the Pilbara Collaboration Group (PCG), has announced the release of two tools to help pastoralists and other groups to identify plant species in the Pilbara and to better monitor rangelands condition.
The project has been made possible through funding from the State government's Natural Resource Management Program.
The tools include a new and improved edition of 'Pasture Identification - A Field Guide for the Pilbara' plus the release of the Pilbara adaptation of Gascoyne Catchment Group's Rangelands Monitoring app.
The KPCA has been leading the co-ordination of the PCG since the start of 2018.
The PCG is made up of six not-for-profit groups that undertake or have an interest in natural resource management (NRM) activities in the Pilbara.
Other participating organisations include Greening Australia, Rangelands NRM, Pilbara Mesquite Management Committee, Pilbara Regional Biosecurity Group and the Gascoyne Catchments Group.
The Field Guide was initially published in 2014 by Greening Australia as a tool to help land managers identify and manage their native pastures.
"The guide was so popular we ran out of copies some time ago," said Greening Australia - Science and Programs Leader Blair Parsons.
"It is great to see the KPCA, on behalf of the PCG, releasing an updated second edition to support good environmental management in this precious and productive landscape."
The new edition of the Field Guide now identifies 55 species as well as information on the different pasture groups, individual plant identification information as well as grazing value, habitat and distribution.
It also includes a new section on management and burning of spinifex.
"The Rangelands Monitoring Tool is an app that was designed by pastoralists for pastoralists," said Gascoyne Catchments Group monitoring project officer Alex Maslen.
"As such it is a user-friendly tool that allows pastoralists to easily assess their monitoring sites, setting a benchmark score to compare against on an annual or as-needs basis."
Ms Maslen said it was "remarkable to see the app is now fully functioning on the Apple store and available to the PiIbara and Gascoyne regions".
"Initial development support from Rangelands NRM through the National Landcare Program has been the catalyst in allowing this app to flourish and in the process, encourage strong alliances between the two regions as we worked together to bring it to fruition," Mr Maslen said.
KPCA chairman David Stoate was pleased that these tools were now available to help Pilbara pastoralists better manage and monitor the condition of their pastures and landscape health.
"Pastoralists being able to demonstrate good rangelands management practices is very topical at the moment in the context of the State's pastoral land tenure reform process and also the 2017 Auditor Generals' Report into the Management of Pastoral Lands in WA," Mr Stoate said.
He said the KPCA was prioritising seeking funding to create similar tools for pastoralists in the Kimberley.