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NatureAssist provides eligible landholders with the opportunity to access grant funding for projects and activities that protect and enhance the significant natural and cultural values of their land.
To be eligible for NatureAssist grant funding, landholders must be willing to enter into a conservation agreement with the Minister to declare a nature refuge over part or all of their property.
The part of the property proposed as a nature refuge can still be used for compatible land uses such as sustainable grazing or eco-tourism.
Funded NatureAssist activities may include for example, pest management, fauna and flora surveys, fencing to manage stock access to environmentally sensitive areas or engaging First Nations people to record and develop management plans to protect cultural heritage.
Why become a nature refuge landholder?
A nature refuge is a voluntary agreement between a landholder and the Minister to conserve the significant natural and cultural values of privately managed land. It is one of the strongest ways to demonstrate your commitment to environmental stewardship and to ensure your good land management practices are continued into the future, even if the property changes hands.
By becoming a nature refuge landholder, you will join a growing network of nature refuges covering more than 4.4 million hectares of diverse landscapes across Queensland.
The Ulcanbah Nature Refuge is on Ulcanbah Station.
It’s right on the top of the Great Dividing Range. We join three watersheds…so the Lake Buchanan watershed, the Lake Air Basin, and the Belyando into the Burdekin.
The nature refuge is approximately 3000 hectares.
Our family has been on Ulcanbah since the beginning of 1947, so 74 years.
The area that was put under the nature refuge arrangement in 2018 is at the very top of the range.
It’s on the junction of the Desert Channels and the Belyando, and is not very far north to where the Flinders Basin starts, so it's a linkage between all those three.
The amount of vegetation there is very diverse. We've got spinifex grasses to some feathertop, wiregrass, native millet, desert bluegrass…all grow up through there.
There’s wattle, there’s ironbark, there’s lancewood heather…all different kinds of wattles and ferns when it gets wet.
Our nature retreat started in 2018, and we wanted to manage our property better and we found out by having this 3000 acres there protected we can therefore grow the grass, keep the land better and it helps us run our property better.
The average Queenslander I think is interested and invested in the environment, everyone's got a lot of opinions, and this allows our fellow Queenslanders to help to make the environment better.
So we're all in it together instead of being at odds with one another.
The NatureAssist program started in 2007 and has, to date, provided $16.3 million to 130 projects on nature refuges across Queensland.
Over $900,000 was allocated to grant recipients to support the establishment and management of three new nature refuges, adding over 52,000 hectares to the private protected area network.
Funded projects included pest plant and pest animal control, biodiversity surveys, fire management, cultural heritage surveys, removal of old fences and excluding stock from sensitive areas.
Over $1.6 million was allocated to grant recipients to support the establishment and management of two new nature refuges and the extension of two existing nature refuges, adding over 166,000 hectares to the private protected area network.
Funded projects included pest plant and pest animal control, biodiversity surveys, threatened species research, fire management, stock exclusion fence construction and off-stream stock water establishment.