Our Plan for the Northern Cassowary Coast

Our Local Landscape’s natural values and rural lifestyle are unique and special, and definitely worthy of our effort in managing and enhancing them.

Much of our Wet Tropics’ rainforests are protected in World Heritage Areas, providing refuge for many species of wildlife, as well as attracting tourists to our area.

Our rural and urban areas are equally valuable, supporting strong communities, diverse agriculture and contributing to our economy and sustainability. Our varied landscapes, from our coastal systems through to the mountain ranges, need our support to make sure they are as healthy as possible, now and into the future.

Our three top priorities

1. Biodiversity

We will improve the condition and connectivity of our forests, building a mosaic of corridors to build resilience against threats, including climate change.

A lot of good environmental and conservation planning has taken place in our Local Landscape. We have some important natural areas with high biodiversity values protected in World Heritage Areas, but we also have significant coastal systems, wetlands, waterways and forested areas outside this protected estate.

We know that providing effective corridors for wildlife movement, particularly along north-south and east-west passages, can help build resilience into our natural systems, which will be so important for adapting to a changing environment.

We can build on the energy within our community, and the partnerships already in place, to help improve biodiversity outcomes in our landscape.

“If we have the information, we can take action to build corridors to enhance movement of threatened species and improve genetic diversity.”

“Community partnerships will ensure entire landscapes are transformed, not just small areas. Need to get community members involved by “owning” their revegetation areas.”

Examples of our priority actions include:

• Collaboratively revegetate priority areas to re-establish corridors with the landscape.
• Protect existing vegetation through a range of incentives, policy and legislation.
• Construct wildlife crossings on roads to reduce wildlife deaths.
• Conduct research to improve fire management, in consultation with Traditional Owners and the community.

2. Water

We will enhance the quality of our water and the condition of our waterways.

Clean water in our creeks and rivers can help maintain the health and sustainability of our towns and farms, and is also essential for supporting our natural environments.

We have strong cultural ties to our waterways, with a long history of Traditional Owner presence in our landscape. Our waterways are also focus points for recreational and tourist activities.

There is so much value in maintaining healthy waterways throughout our landscape, it is understandable why it is such a priority for our community.

Healthy waterways and wetlands can improve the natural, social, economic and cultural values of our landscape, and we aim to continue our work in managing and enhancing our waterways so we can appreciate their full value.

“When the riparian zone is well-managed, the river becomes stable and self-cleansing.”

Examples of our priority actions include:

• Restoration of high priority waterways identified in the Johnstone River Management Plan.
• Restoration of wetlands, including weed and pest management, desilting and revegetation.

3. Sustainable Industries

Our region’s industries will be sustainable, diverse and resilient, supporting our communities and natural environments.

Our region has a diversity of industries which contribute to our economy and employment opportunities. Many of these industries, including agriculture and tourist ventures, rely on healthy natural systems for their long term sustainability and success. With careful management of our rural and urban industries, we can contribute to healthy landscapes, waterways and marine environments.

“If you understand the value of your topsoil you will work to protect it.”

Examples of our priority actions include:

• Develop novel plans to increase tourism in the area, including ideas like developing a Mourilyan tourism port or promoting disability tourism.
• Develop education programs around sustainable agriculture principles.
• Investigate new, novel industries, like alternative energy generation.

Other priorities:

In addition to the above priorities, our community places value on using a collaborative approach to increase the capacity of groups and individuals, improving awareness and involvement in environmental initiatives.

Traditional Owner involvement, with more opportunities for employment, will also bring wider promotion of cultural and natural values of our landscape.

We also want to progress proactive partnerships to minimise the impact of invasive species.

For more detail on the priority actions identified by the community for our Local Landscape, click on this link.