09051: Assessing and managing the impacts of feral pigs on high conservation value waterways in the upper Fitzroy River catchment

    Wunggurr Rangers installing a feral pig trap on Mt Barnett Station. Courtesy Sam Bayley Kimberley Land Council
    Wunggurr Rangers installing a feral pig trap on Mt Barnett Station. Courtesy Sam Bayley Kimberley Land Council

    Feral pigs are environmental and agricultural pests. Pig activity has a dramatic effect on creeks and lakes. In many areas, concentrated rooting 'ploughs' up to 20 m around the waterline.

    Such disturbance of the soil and natural vegetation degrades water quality and the habitat for small terrestrial and aquatic animals. It also creates erosion and allows exotic weeds to establish.

    With the help of funding from the State NRM Program, the Kimberley Land Council aims to implement a feral pig eradication program to protect the waterways of Mt Barnett Indigenous Pastoral Station.

    The project will reduce and manage the feral pig population to maintain and improve biodiversity in these unique aquatic ecosystems.

    An on-ground baiting and trapping program will be trialled. Wunggurr rangers will deliver the project while working closely with the Department of Water; the University of Western Australia; the Kimberley Land Council; the Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia; traditional owners and pastoral stations.

    The baiting and trapping program will be combined with a monitoring program to evaluate the effectiveness of pig removal and increase understanding of the impacts on the aquatic environment.

    This project seeks to:

    • engage Indigenous communities and pastoral stations to assist with pig eradication and monitoring tasks
    • enhance community knowledge and capabilities for assessing waterway health and implementing pig eradication programs
    • strengthen the Wunggurr ranger program by establishing relationships with partnering organisations and land managers to develop collaborative projects.
    Investment: $ 19 185
    In-kind contribution: $ 32 831
    Delivery organisation: Kimberley Land Council
    Project duration: August 2010 - March 2012
    Location: Upper Fitzroy and Isdell river catchments

    Major project achievements

    • Consultation with project partners identified sites of environmental, economic and cultural significance in which feral pig monitoring sites were established.

    • Proficiency of community partners and rangers was increased through waterway health and feral pig eradication training.

    • Surveying and action plans were completed on focus areas in regards to waterway health and feral pig surveillance.

    Lessons Learnt

    • Political unrest made it difficult to obtain community engagement - various approaches to achieve participation should be thought through prior to project.

    • Remote location hindered contractor assistance.

    • Flexibility in timeline and milestones should be given for unforseen seasonal mishaps (extended wet season).

    • Trapping at pre-identified pig disturbance sites is effective when it is continual, teams are local and traps are durable.

    Project partners

    Department of Water; Department of Environment and Conservation; Northern Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance; University of Western Australia; Kimberley Training Institute; Kimberley Training Group; Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge

    More information

    Kimberley Land Council (Derby) (08) 9194 0175

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