INDIGENOUS RANGER PROGRAM BEGINS IN MAMU COUNTRY
RANGERS LAUNCH NEW WATER MONITORING PROGRAM
26 JULY 2022
The Innisfail region now has Mamu indigenous rangers caring for country – and a new water monitoring project that’s exciting both elders and the younger generation.
The first four Mamu rangers are on board.
“This is a good feeling, to be moving forward,’’ senior ranger Francis Joyce says. It’s a simple statement but one that’s loaded with passion – for the land, the animals, Mamu cultural heritage and the Mamu people’s drive to be play a bigger role in the management of land and sea.
The ranger program’s launch follows funding through the Queensland Government’s Indigenous Land and Sea Rangers Program. Rangers will be looking after cultural heritage sites, monitoring biodiversity, helping with pest plant control, and leading a new water monitoring program among other roles.
Building on water quality monitoring program
The water program, in partnership with Terrain NRM, is building on existing water quality monitoring in the region, combining cultural knowledge, values and concerns with western science.
“We’ll be doing monthly routine water sampling across the Johnstone catchment from its top to end of catchment, testing for things like nutrients, pesticides and suspended solids,’’ Francis says.
“We’ll also be monitoring impacts on the rainforest and ecosystems and looking at cultural indicators that came about through consultation with our Mamu people – things like places where there used to be yabby beds but there aren’t anymore, fish species that have disappeared from certain areas over the years…
“The information will give everyone a snapshot of waterway health and a better understanding to move towards solutions. By working together and building partnerships we can create a more sustainable future.”
The project is funded through the partnership between the Australian Government and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation. It has also involved water monitoring training for rangers and several younger traditional custodians through Terrain NRM and the Department of Environment and Science.
Passion for conserving land and water
Rusharne Purcell, 20, and Keith Land, 22, share a passion for conserving the land and water.
“We’re all striving for one goal – to have an environment that’s not destroyed,’’ Rusharne says. “It’s so good to finally get a chance to help preserve this, and our culture.”
Mamu Aboriginal Corporation’s Lorraine Maund says momentum is building, from elders through to the younger generation.
“Our youth are passionate about the environment and caring for country, why not harness that to drive things forward?,’’ she says.
“We’re all custodians and we share and pass on our knowledge for the next generation because if the land is sick then we are sick and our people are sick. Our elders have been sharing what they’ve seen change over time. Combining their knowledge with new data, we can build a bigger picture for the future.”