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Busy times at the Arafura Swamp

Peter Saunders (Healthy Landscape Manager)
Published 05 May 2017 by Peter Saunders (Healthy Landscape Manager)

A busy time has been had with the rangers from the Arafura Swamp as part of the Bush Heritage partnership with Arafura Swamp Rangers Aboriginal Corporation​ (ASRAC).

The Wanga Djakamirr Rangers, who are the sea rangers for much of the coastline around the swamp, undertook their first patrol for many years.

Time was spent checking turtles and marine debris on the beaches of Howard and Banyan Islands.

They also checked sacred sites and fishing in the Glyde and Woolen Rivers.

A few days later a stray fishing net was found in the Glyde River full of dead fish, not common thankfully, but highlighting the importance of regular patrols.

Next, the Arafura Rangers recently spent time planning the fire season with all the other ranger groups of Arnhem land.

The meeting was hosted by another ranger group in the area, Mimal Land Management, at the lovely Barrapunta outstation. No mean effort by them to feed 120 people for several days in such a location!

The burning season is nearly upon us and this is true landscape-scale burning!

This huge project across Arnhem Land involves the strategic and planned burning of savanna areas during the early dry season to reduce the risk of late dry season wild fires and so save hundreds of thousands of tonnes of carbon from going into the atmosphere.

Through the not-for-profit partnership organisation Arnhem Land Fire Abatement Ltd these 'carbon credits' produce a valuable income, both creating employment in the region and getting people out on country, caring for and burning country the right way.

On top of their normal work the rangers had to help with a lost crocodile.

After a week of leaving tracks around town it was finally picked up and moved to more remote out of town creek. It was small at 1.5 metres, but it would still hurt!

That was on the back of an excellent visit to Murwangi (where among many other things 10 Canoes was filmed) with Roy, Lindy (Museum Victoria) and Hilary (Bulabula Arts) 80 years to the week after Donald Thomson travelled here - a fascinating collection of over 2000 photographs sits behind his books, which offer an incredible insight into life in Arnhem Land in the 1930s.

... and then there are the amazing sunsets !

Finally, Penny and Alice from Northern Land Council (NLC) Darwin came out from town to work with the NLC woman rangers for a week.

Anna from Arafura Swamp Ranger Aboriginal Corporation ​(ASRAC) helped as always, and an odd Bush Heritage male was allowed along to take the group photos.

Much good stuff was done, from clearing some special sites and also the barge landing, collecting bush food material, and my favourite, protection burning around some outstations!

... and even a little fishing too!

Jesiah with a lost crocodile. Jesiah with a lost crocodile.
Planning helicopter burning flights. Planning helicopter burning flights.
Presenting the plan to other groups. Presenting the plan to other groups.
Roy talking to Hilary (Bula-bula Arts) and Lindy (Museum Victoria) Roy talking to Hilary (Bula-bula Arts) and Lindy (Museum Victoria)
Women Ranger group. Women Ranger group.
Some of the haul collected on sea patrol. Some of the haul collected on sea patrol.
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