Centre of Excellence in Natural Resource Management

Social, cultural and environmental research

river

The Centre of Excellence in Natural Resource Management can provide knowledge and advice on the interactions between people and the natural environment and associated impacts on community, culture and the environment.

Members of the group have expertise in:

  • capacity-building for natural resource management
  • indigenous ecological knowledge
  • social, cultural and economic value of natural systems
  • links between environmental degradation and health problems.

Recent projects

  1. Provision of a feasibility study into the establishment of multi-disciplinary research facilities in the Kimberley region
  2. Waterways education program
  3. Role of aquatic public spaces
  4. Risk analysis of a proposed coal mine in the Fitzroy Catchment
  5. Development of a catchment management plan for the Fitzroy River
  6. Citizen Scientists Biofertiliser Project
  7. Nurdling November

Provision of a feasibility study into the establishment of multi-disciplinary research facilities in the Kimberley region

A feasibility study into the establishment of collaborative, multi-disciplinary research facilities focused on tropical science in the Kimberley region of WA.

The project will involve stakeholder survey and consultation and the presentation of a report for TIAC.

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Waterways Education Program

The waterways education program is aimed at providing on-ground education and training to the Kimberley community. Waterways Education was developed to increase the awareness of community, students and Indigenous Ranger Groups to science and management techniques and environmental issues surrounding Kimberley waterways. The ultimate aim of the program is to help build the capacity of local and regional communities, using a hands-on educational program, to address environmental issues in their local area, initiate monitoring and research projects and interact with existing research and management initiatives.

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Role of aquatic public spaces

A comparative ethnography of aquatic public spaces and their role in the production and reproduction of culture, looking in detail at one public space that has been neglected both in the academic literature and common knowledge: public baths, beaches and pools. The comparative ethnography will be set in different cultural areas. This research will make an important contribution by developing an anthropology of water, and will help to build an international network of researchers in the social sciences working on water issues.

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Risk analysis of a proposed coal mine in the Fitzroy Catchment

A risk analysis in connection with the proposed coal mines in the Canning Basin, in the Nyikina-Mangala traditional owner group region.

A mining company holds extensive mining leases in the Canning Basin that are known to contain vast deposits of coal. The company had indicated its intention to mine this coal, using a variety of mining techniques. The objective of this project was to conduct a risk analysis of all of the potential risks of mining coal in this region.

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Development of a Catchment Management Plan for the Fitzroy River

The plan has been used by Rangelands Natural Resource Management (NRM) to prioritise investment in NRM and the waterways framework to prioritise subcatchments of Fitzroy River.

The Fitzroy River, and its catchment, is one of WA’s last remaining areas that still retains its wilderness values. It is one of northern Australia’s largest and most significant free-flowing rivers. The tropical rivers of Northern Australia form an integral part of a region that is considered to be environmentally significant in a national and global context. The development of a Catchment Management Plan (CMP) was identified as a key step in ensuring sustainability of the river, its Indigenous values, its water quality, and the overall ecological integrity of the catchment. The plan was developed in cooperation with the Fitzroy Catchment Management Project – FitzCAM, and several government agencies in the region. It covers all aspects of the catchment and takes into account ecological and cultural assets, as well as the production needs of local industries. Based on the views of a wide range of local stakeholders, it attempts to integrate current activities and begins to address threats to local cultural, Indigenous and ecological assets as well as threats to local industries.

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Citizen Scientists Biofertiliser Project

This project will look at how various biofertilisers can be produced at home, or on farm, and what changes can be measured in the soil after their use. This is particularly relevant as our south-west Australian soils are known to be very fragile, and as some of the poorest soils in the world.

Citizen scientists will participate throughout, and have a number of options, from attending workshops or field days right through to hosting a trial site on their property. The project will be testing whether using biofertilisers improves soil carbon storage, water holding capacity and microbial activity. Those involved have the opportunity to learn scientific methods and experimental design as well as learn how to make biofertilisers and methods of application. To ensure skills learnt can be ‘taken home’, a series of information booklets are available through this website. As the project progresses more booklets will become available. These will cover topics such as how to: make biofertilisers; apply biofertilisers; design a field trial; collect soil samples; and measure soil health parameters. Data collected through this project will be analysed, and results will be shared with all participants.

Newsletters published by the project are available here for download in PDF format.

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Nurdling November

This is a Citizen Science project that aims to collect, quantify and categorize virgin plastic pellets that wash up on the beaches of southern Western Australia. It will also determine if plastic pellets lost to the ocean in South Africa in 2017 have washed up on these shores.

Plastic in the environment is a prominent issue, affecting much of the world. The south coast of Western Australia is not immune to the problem and receives plastic pollution in many forms including plastic pellets, also known as Nurdles. The nature of this projects makes it a suitable for Citizen Scientists who will collect Nurdles from ~ 600 km of coast, using a simple scientific method. Analysis of the samples will allow us to describe the characteristics of Nurdles and identify locations where they accumulate. We may also detect Nurdles spilt in South Africa, providing us with an opportunity to explore southern Indian Ocean oceanography. Discovery of the South African Nurdles on beaches of the south coast of Western Australia is also an opportunity to discuss who is responsible for the pollution and determine who should pay for the cleanup. 

 
Please download the following files for additional information and guidance to participate in this project.

Nurdle Collection and scientific Method Guide

Nurdling November Data sheet 

Nurdling November Participant Release Form

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Centre of Excellence in Natural Resource Management

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Last updated:
Friday, 26 October, 2018 10:19 AM

https://www.cenrm.uwa.edu.au/2297821