Reserve plan for islands

Alexander ScottPilbara News
Thevenard Island, part of the Mackerel Islands near Onslow, will be included in the proposed reserve.
Camera IconThevenard Island, part of the Mackerel Islands near Onslow, will be included in the proposed reserve. Credit: Mogens Johansen

A plan to combine the Pilbara inshore islands into one nature reserve has opened for public comment.

The draft plan for the new nature reserve covers more than 13,000ha of land, from the Exmouth Gulf to Cape Preston.

The proposal would include all of the 174 Pilbara inshore islands, 97 of which are already in existing nature reserves, with 77 in unallocated crown land.

The region provides habitat for a variety of threatened species, including the critically endangered eastern curlew, the vulnerable golden bandicoot, and four species of marine turtles. Included in the proposal is a series of management strategies to protect and rehabilitate the islands, including identifying and classifying sensitive sites as the highest priority for management and implementing a pest control program.

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said draft strategies safeguarded important biodiversity and cultural, and social values while allowing nature-based recreation and tourism experience opportunities. “Isolated from the mainland, the Pilbara inshore islands are important breeding and resting places for migratory shorebirds, seabirds and marine turtles, as they are protected from disturbances or threats like introduced predators, light and noise pollution, bushfires and vehicles on beaches,” he said.

“I encourage people to provide comment on the plan, which will help guide the management of these small and remote island reserves into the future.”

The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions prepared the draft management plan in consultation with various stakeholder groups, and traditional owners.

Public comment for the draft plan will close on November 18.

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