Woodslake (Jilgara) Restoration Project
Woodslake, or Jilgara as it is know by the traditional owners, is a culturally and ecologically significant wetland in North West Queensland impacted by major erosion and sediment issues caused by infrastructure development and grazing practices. Gangalidda and Garawa traditional owners are alarmed by the amounts of topsoil being deposited into the wetland which has reduced water quality and a noticeable loss of biodiversity. The Carpentaria Land Council Aboriginal Corporation (CLCAC) Gangalidda and Garawa rangers have supported traditional owners and restoration efforts commenced in 2013.
Rehabilitation of Woodslake was separated into three phases: develop a management plan, train CLCAC rangers to undertake erosion control works, and complete on-ground activities in stages as funding is available.
The visual, map based management plan was developed by CLCAC rangers with technical support and guidance from landscape ecologist Dr Hugh Pringle. Rangers identified and prioritised 17 areas of concern. Theory and practical training led to the first active gully being re-shaped, battered and structures were installed to slow water and drop sediment before it reached Woodslake. Monitoring will test the success of the first stage following the wet season before the next on-ground activities take place.
Woodslake restoration project is a strong example of a collaborative activity led by grass-roots project managers which achieves on-ground benefits to biodiversity and indigenous culture. A total investment of $150,000 was provided through partnerships, grants and in-kind support. CLCAC led the project with support from Southern Gulf Catchments Limited, Burke Shire Council, the Queensland and Commonwealth Government and the local Burketown community.
Image: Rangers adding their combined knowledge to compile cultural and environmental information to the map overlays