High-value Environmental Area Targeted (HEAT) investment is one of three projects within the environment stream being implemented to tackle serious issues in the region.
HEAT is a region-wide, high-value, targeted, environmental investment project. Its funds will only be directed to high value areas related to investment priorities such as vegetation communities or species listed under the EPBC (Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation) Act, properties that surround National Parks, or for refugia that support species migration and are crucial in a changing climate.
Action under this project will vary according to the threatening processes occurring, and it could involve action from grazing management of sensitive wetlands, to feral cat control in collaboration with National Park programs.
Similar to the weed outlier project, a multi criteria decision matrix will be used to inform where projects will be targeted. This matrix will consider areas of high biodiversity value such as Matters of National Environmental Significance, or areas that support the conservation of the protected area estate.
As an environmental stream project, HEAT will include an Indigenous consultation strategy to assist with incorporating Indigenous values and knowledge, and developing skills in natural resource management.
DCQ’s Indigenous Engagement Strategy will be updated as a part of these projects. This will be an important foundational activity which will lead to a number of outputs and, eventually, greater Indigenous participation.
Primarily, the engagement strategy will lead to the development of unique workshops connected to each project. These workshops will aim to build capacity, knowledge and experience in managing matters of national environmental significance.
Dedicated communication products will also be prepared to inform Indigenous community members on matters relating to land management linked to EPBC matters. It is expected that such dedicated training and education exercises will provide a range of outcomes for Indigenous community members, including improving knowledge, capacity, skills and participation in conservation matters.
This will play a role in supporting the Closing the Gap targets, by increasing opportunities for Indigenous employment, as well as targets associated with Australia’s Biodiversity Conservation Strategy (2010-2030), which requires an increase in participation of Indigenous peoples in biodiversity conservation.
From 2013 to early 2015, this project was funded by the Commonwealth Government’s Caring for our Country Initiative – Environment Stream; since then, it has been funded by the National Landcare Program.
The rationale for projects funded by this initiative is to both implement on-ground action for strategic and high value areas within the region, and to empower the community through landholder collaborative planning at the landscape scale.
On-ground action and planning will be integrated to achieve quality outcomes, and to achieve efficiencies in the implementation, as well as building landholder continuity in undertaking natural resource management into the long term.
From 2014 to 2016, DCQ collaborated with Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, Bush Heritage Australia, landholders, local governments, Indigenous community members and the scientific research community to develop the Desert Channels Region Collaborative Investment Plan for Threatened or Endangered Species and High-value Environmental Areas (click here). This Investment Plan and its Summary (click here) were launched to the public in September 2016 at the Sesbania Field Day.
Supporting promotional bags sporting three of the region’s emblematic threatened species, Julia Creek Dunnart, Night Parrot and Bilby were also produced to highlight the HEAT program and its connection to EPBC species.