The communities of the Wet Tropics region have identified a diverse range of priority actions which, collectively, will help achieve our strategic outcomes and keep us moving towards our longer term goals.
The identification of priority actions was done both regionally and locally. These were then integrated to arrive at the greatest possible alignment between what people care about in their backyard and regional priorities; these now form our list of Regional priorities.
The complete list of Local priorities can be accessed using the filters to the left. More detail can be found on each Priority Action by clicking on the links for more information.
Develop a region-wide, cross-sector, cross-partner communications program about the natural resource values and threats of the Wet Tropics.
A collaborative compelling ‘campaign’ about the values and threats to the Wet Tropics will pack a much bigger punch than individual efforts, leveraging off the strong connection between the Wet Tropics community and their landscape.
Develop a collective, regional Strategy for attracting novel funding for a wide range of NRM initiatives.
There are alternative sources of funding that could be accessed for NRM if the case is compelling, drawing on the iconic nature of the region. This can offset declines in Government funding and secure a more sustainable future.
Preparation of a cross-sector, multi-partner Regional Influence Strategy to influence policy and decision making at all levels.
Providing well targeted, strategic, relevant and credible information and options to policy and decision makers collaboratively will have more influence than many voices saying a similar thing in different ways.
Develop a region-wide, collaborative Research and Development Strategy identifying the research needs to deal with future challenges.
Providing cohesive direction to the research sector, clarifying the knowledge gaps for effective adaptation and increased resilience, R&D will be more effective, and delivered through active researcher/practitioner partnerships.
Strengthen partnerships to maximise the effectiveness and efficiency of existing resources.
With diminishing funding, we must to do more with what we already have! Operational partnerships, sharing information, collectively prioritising, although involving effort, will deliver efficiency rewards and more effective policy influence.
Collaboratively develop a transparent region-wide agreement on new ‘goals’ and priorities for biodiversity, building in science on climate change.
A revision of Biodiversity goals and priorities undertaken collaboratively across different sectors is essential to take into account climate change. Different climate futures will make the use of pre-European vegetation a less appropriate reference.
Develop a framework for realistically valuing ecosystem services in order to secure investment in their maintenance.
Including the value of ecosystem services in economic and investment decision making is essential. Methodologies to credibly value these services are an essential basis for negotiating ecosystem service payments, and communicating to investors and the community.
Collaboratively prepare and implement a Biodiversity Connectivity Strategy incorporating latest science on climate change impacts.
A region-wide, agreed, connectivity strategy, taking into account current science including climate change, will maximise the outcomes from connectivity investment and can inform plans and policies that can have either a positive or perverse impact on biodiversity resilience.
Review and refine collaborative prioritisation frameworks to factor in projected future climate change impacts.
Building on existing prioritisation frameworks to take account of the need to respond to, and prepare for, future invasive species threats will be critical to maximising limited resources to build ecosystem resilience.
Develop knowledge packages and tools that support local-level planning that effectively takes climate change into account.
Science about the likely impacts of climate change and adaptation options is available. Packaging it so that it is locally relevant, compelling and solutions-focused can fast track planning that already takes into account the different challenges of the future.
Develop a program to support industries to make well informed decisions NOW about changes to practice that will build resilience.
Providing industries with a greater understanding of the challenges/opportunities that the future will bring - using interactive and compelling technology, will enable people to plan their response more proactively, and have a greater influence over their own future.
Develop and implement a multi-partner innovation strategy providing farmers with access to knowledge, technical support and opportunities to connect with others.
Fast tracking transformational change in agriculture is essential and support such as easy access to knowledge, case studies, a space for sharing experiences will support farmers that are trying new things and build a culture of experimentation and adaptation.
Develop a region-wide brand and local trade strategy focusing on sustainable production, low carbon footprint and high quality produce.
Establishing a business brand for the region linked to natural assets, sustainability and proactive tackling of climate change challenges will build recognition of the quality of the products as well as the farming processes.
Establish a region-wide legal entity that provides coordination, advocacy, advisory and capacity building support, and represents the interests of all members PBCs.
Long-term and strategic support from a mandated, legal regional organisation will significantly enhance the capacity of Traditional Owner groups to engage in all aspects of NRM through strategic representation and secure access to funding and business opportunities.
Deliver a region-wide Proficiency Program providing targeted training/support to PBCs across the region.
Long-term, sustained, investment to provide all groups with proficiency in key areas will build greater regional capacity for effective and beneficial Indigenous participation.
Establish an Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Mapping and Management Centre to inform policy, planning and project development and guarantee protection of cultural values and sites.
Supporting cultural knowledge holders to share and record cultural values is a priority for both protecting that knowledge, but also informing and influencing policies and plans that could either threaten or enhance cultural values.
Develop and implement a region-wide Cultural Values Communication campaign, to build understanding and respect for cultural values.
Widespread respect for, and valuing of the exceptional cultural values of the Wet Tropics, will be an important lever for influencing policy, securing investment and ensuring these values are protected into the future. An innovative marketing campaign will be key.
Systematically and strategically conduct riparian restoration projects to improve the health of our region’s waterways, including the Great Barrier Reef lagoon.
A systematic approach to waterway restoration, developed in collaboration with all stakeholders and based on agreed criteria and priorities, will provide extensive benefits to the health of our rivers and streams.
Incorporate priorities and actions identified through Threatened Species Recovery Plans into local projects to facilitate community stewardship of, and action towards, recovery of threatened species.
Ensuring priorities from Recovery Plans are considered in local level planning and projects provides the most effective way to gain wide-spread adoption and implementation of strategic actions identified through the Recovery Planning process, as well as ensuring strong community stewardship of the process.
Develop a region-wide succession plan for ensuring the retention of technical skills and knowledge in the region (initially related to invasive species, but could be expanded to NRM in general).
The Wet Tropics has attracted professionals in this area for decades and there is an enormous amount of expertise, skills and knowledge already within the region. It is critical to make sure that we don’t lose this expertise, and that we are building the next generation of experts and professionals in this area.
Work collaboratively to enhance existing, and develop new, practical and useful extension and knowledge brokering services and products for land managers, covering the wide range of integrated NRM issues affecting, and affected by, land management.
Using the latest knowledge about how to inspire and enable change in land managers, a cross-sector program targeting a range of outcomes including water quality, biodiversity and invasive species could enhance farmer capacity and resilience and build a stronger culture of natural resource stewardship.
Strategically and collaboratively conduct restoration projects in priority locations across the Wet Tropics, to improve landscape connectivity and increase ecosystem resilience.
Targeted, strategic restoration projects can make the most of the limited and contested funding available, while delivering strong biodiversity outcomes and improving landscape resilience and ecosystem function.
Engage local communities to conduct small scale restoration activities around local creeks.
Focusing on small scale activities in specific localities can make it easier for people to find a way to be involved which suits them, perhaps without requiring a huge commitment. Involving the local community develops a strong culture of stewardship.
Undertake restoration work in key wetlands across the Wet Tropics to restore their function and protect their environmental values.
Many wetlands throughout the region have been heavily modified. Restoring their function can significantly improve water quality and benefit a whole range of aquatic and terrestrial species, including migratory birds.
Involve the community in conducting a comprehensive eradication program for Yellow Crazy Ants and Electric Ants, using a range of innovative and traditional approaches.
These species pose a significant threat to local habitats, wildlife and people's lifestyles. The community can provide a rapid-response unit to mobilise quickly to control new outbreaks and can effectively monitor control success.
Investigate and implement coordinated and innovative biosecurity measures to reduce the impact of feral pests on natural and productive systems.
Using a coordinated, collaborative, innovative approach to feral animal management will make the most of limited resourcing and maximise the efforts of all involved, to provide the most effective control possible.
Removal of barriers and installation of structures to aid fish movement and provide expanded access to fish habitat and breeding grounds.
These actions can all contribute to improved fish movement and long term aquatic health. Community involvement is vital to raise awareness and act as a catalyst for further projects.
Conduct management activities within priority areas of remnant vegetation to improve the health, resilience and function of our region's existing forests.
Without appropriate management, the cumulative effect of weeds, pests, diseases, natural disturbances, grazing, poor fire management, etc can all gradually erode the health and function of remnant patches. Existing forests are already contributing to the high biodiversity values of the region - we need to ensure they remain healthy.
Stabilise areas of significant erosion in the landscape, using a range of techniques eg. revegetation, maintaining effective farm drains and installing detention basins.
Stabilising eroding sites will reduce sediment and nutrient runoff into waterways, significantly improving water quality in our region's waterways, including the Great Barrier Reef.
Develop and deliver programs and initiatives to conserve water on rural and urban land.
Our water resources are under increasing pressure and competing demands, from urban populations, agricultural use and environmental flows. The uncertainty of a changing climate adds further complexity to water use and management, with predictions of changes in weather patterns and rainfall events and changes in urban and rural water requirements.
Undertake restoration of priority coastal and foreshore areas in the Wet Tropics to protect these important habitats and improve their ability to act as buffers.
Healthy coastal environments provide enormous environmental, social and cultural benefits, including buffering coastal towns against potential impacts of climate change. Many ecological communities associated with coastal systems are threatened and under increasing pressure, requiring careful management to prevent further decline.
Develop collaborative, practical biosecurity protocols and undertake an integrated approach to managing invasive species.
Protocols which focus on preventing weeds from arriving and establishing and providing access to good information and advice can make the most of the limited time and resources available for biosecurity. A collaborative approach provides landholders with a united voice on the issue of invasive species, providing a better opportunity to instigate and maintain action.
Provide opportunities to share knowledge and access information and resources, enhancing the capacity of community groups to continue their vital role in managing the natural resources of the Wet Tropics region.
Effective community groups are capable of achieving huge outcomes! Local people have a strong connection to their area and well-developed relationships within their communities. With the right support and resources, this can translate into a legacy of positive natural resource management and stewardship.
Develop a comprehensive community environmental education program to improve understanding and awareness of a range of NRM issues, helping facilitate change.
Providing a clear and consistent message around good natural resource management will help progress towards instilling a cultural change. To bring about real, enduring change and reduce damaging practices, we first need to have broad support and understanding within the community. Changing attitudes will lead to on ground change!
Develop a program to identify and acknowledge a network of NRM champions to showcase NRM successes, develop community pride and increase awareness of good NRM practices.
Identifying NRM Champions provides a way of celebrating success, recognising achievement and acknowledging the recipient’s positive actions. Marketing the stories really well can attract more interest from the community, helping raise general awareness and contributing to a cultural change.
Develop and facilitate access to school based environmental and cultural education programs.
Influencing the school curriculum is critical for an informed, active and empowered community of the future. Delivering school environmental education programs will result in a long term legacy of increased awareness and better understanding of environmental and cultural issues.
Investigate effective techniques for improving the health of soil and develop appropriate extension materials, with the aim of improving land management and reducing sediment and nutrient runoff.
Healthy soils can improve agricultural productivity, reduce reliance on chemical inputs and their associated costs, and minimise agricultural runoff to waterways and the Great Barrier Reef lagoon. Robust scientific evidence can be accessed and translated into appropriate extension material to provide landholders with the opportunity to make informed choices regarding the management of their soil.
Conduct trials on a range of innovative practices relevant to industries in the Wet Tropics, to improve knowledge of the effectiveness of these approaches and increase the uptake of successful techniques.
Improving the science and knowledge underpinning new and innovative approaches across a range of industries can help increase their uptake, resulting in more sustainable natural resource management, productivity and community outcomes.
Implement education, incentive and stewardship schemes to ensure long term protection of high value habitat – protecting what we already have.
Investigating positive and innovative ways to protect what is already there provides a cost effective way of achieving good conservation outcomes, while encouraging support from landholders. ‘Least effort’ approaches, such as protecting what we already have, can achieve protection of significant areas of high value habitat.
Develop a tourism marketing strategy to promote the natural and cultural assets of the Wet Tropics region, increasing environmental awareness and value through experience with nature.
A clever marketing campaign can increase visitor numbers to the region, but also raise awareness within local communities of the value of the natural and cultural environment. Establishing a strong link between the natural environment, employment and regional development brings an added incentive for local communities to support good conservation and environmental management.
Develop and implement a plan to improve access to natural areas for recreational purposes, by a diverse range of user groups (eg. disabled, older people, active tourists).
Increased access to natural areas can build attachment to places, increase appreciation and allow the community to build stewardship over their urban and natural assets. This could provide unique marketing opportunities for the region and diversification of the tourism industry.
Conduct community education campaigns to encourage more sustainable design, planning and management in urban areas, leading to changes in approaches and policy on a broader scale.
Good education, planning and involvement of a range of stakeholders in sustainable designing and planning can contribute to reasonable and sustainable growth, while making the most of our enviable tropical environment. Taking a positive, proactive approach and showcasing alternative options to create healthier, more natural urban environments can help bring about changes in culture and attitude.
Establish and promote demonstration sites which showcase ‘model’ projects, to foster good natural resource management and encourage further uptake.
Promoting model projects across a range of areas is an excellent way to showcase success stories and encourage uptake on a larger scale.
Conduct appropriate planning and consultation at a local level to enable effective prioritisation, investment and implementation of a range of NRM projects.
Good planning is the cornerstone of developing and implementing good projects. It can provide the community with a cohesive, coordinated way forward in dealing with a range of complex issues.