The decision is awaited with excitement by all the supporters who have spent several years putting together the detailed proposal. The complex process involved consultations with local communities, farming and fishing peak bodies, indigenous groups, local authorities, WA State agencies, and many adjustments to meet UNESCO’s requirements.
The Fitzgerald Biosphere Group spokesperson Nathan McQuoid said “The area is globally significant for its natural diversity, and has received strong community support over the years and has a long history of Landcare activities and attachment as a natural playground for many from far and wide. We hope our efforts will lead to its approval as a continuing Biosphere, which will be a major achievement for all the people who have willingly given their support; vitally it will maintain our Fitzgerald Biosphere brand, and support further nature-friendly economic development.
Fitzgerald River National Park was first nominated as a Biosphere Reserve in 1978, but it no longer met the criteria introduced in 1996, which required greater community involvement. The renomination proposal incorporates an expanded Biosphere zone and now includes a marine component. Fitzgerald National Park is now the central core zone, which contains a richness of unique and threatened species, and it is surrounded by a buffer zone of remnant vegetation – further encircled by the transition zone of sustainably managed agricultural land and State ocean waters.
The Biosphere Implementation Group (BIG) coordinates all the activities needed to maintain the Biosphere and is made up of Jerramungup and Ravensthorpe Shire Councils, agricultural and indigenous groups, farmers, local communities and WA Government Departments of Parks and Wildlife and Agriculture and Food.