Conservation of the Kimberley … enrichment of the Savannah

This post of mine was sent to the ‘local rag’ which is not internet-able, who wanted it reduced to a third, which would have lost it’s meaning. I prefer to publish it here, along with links and images instead.

Conservation of the Kimberley

It’s nice to see Mr Wade Freeman of the Conservation Council of WA is concerned about the lack of EPA processing for the Buru Energy tight gas drilling proposals. I don’t know why though. The EPA failed in its’ duties in a big way over the proposed James Price Point Woodside LNG Project. The EPA missed the rarity of the flora and fauna, the dinosaur footprints and the overall scientific interest associated with the area, let alone indigenous concerns. Their environmental credentials were exaggerated, as were Woodside’s deficient environmental studies.g c theo 030

However, the shoe is now on the other foot. The use of the Conservation Council of WA’s rhetoric in Mr Freeman’s recent comments seen in print, and their own Facebook pages, show a propensity for the same exaggerations in trying to put across their point. I suggest they take a much closer look at the science, and forget their own social science origins for a time. I don’t need to point out the hype they use on Facebook, it’s bleeding obvious.

Looking at the site plan for the Buru Energy drilling project, the footprint is exceedingly smaller than that required to manufacture, build, and operate their renewable energy dinosaurs, un-phased by the knowledge that coal is needed to manufacture steel, rare earth metal processing for turbines can be far more environmentally devastating, and the poor and middle class are heavily subsidizing the power for those who can afford to pay more for alternative and renewable energy.

Summary EP – Tight Gas Pilot Exploration Program

Carbon dioxide is still plant food, as any research into CO2 and horticulture can tell you. The recent increase in crop yields (WA broke records again last year) is also testimony to that, with some species even showing a doubling of plant growth when subjected to much higher CO2 concentrations in the air. CO2 is not pollution and temperatures haven’t risen in the last 18 years, unfortunately. As well-known scientist and meteorologist Dr William Gray once said “One thing that keeps getting clearer to me is the amount of time, treasure etc wasted on 1/100th of the GHG, .04% of the atmosphere which has 1/1000th the heat capacity of the ocean and next to the affects of the sun, oceans and stochastic events probably can not be measured outside the noise, is a giant red herring and meant to distract from a bigger agenda, which has nothing to do with our obsessions.”



indigenous rangers leaning on a Salmon Gum, Eucalyptus bigalerita

indigenous rangers leaning on a Salmon Gum, Eucalyptus bigalerita


Instead, you could be following our practice of flooding the north with indigenous trees and shrubs in enhanced Savannah horticultural planting projects, providing a greater weed control, a future indigenous income stream and aiding advanced environmental practices in mining, communities, councils and government projects from Kununurra to Exmouth.

Our group of volunteers and hundreds of mostly indigenous participants and supporters have quietly been implementing our agenda with the help of conservative government, mining and exploration companies, landscapers, indigenous organizations, employment and training agencies for over a decade.

The rhetoric from the Left side of politics is the only real threat to our advances, as Mr Freeman’s Environmental Group tries to put a stop to every development in a misguided attempt to portray careful environmental planning in a derogatory way. Not all miners are as bad as environmentalists say.

Now, I have an announcement to make. Our group of volunteers and supporters will plant a million income producing indigenous trees in the north of WA over the next 5 years, and remove as many weeds, providing a future employment bonanza. Indigenous Communities, Outstations, Mining Companies and Shire Councils will all benefit from our expanded program which has begun. You can either work with us or against us, physically or financially. We have put in hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, and time spent, to get this far.
The new Government is right behind us, as were their Howard era predecessors with Work for the Dole and Green Corps. The sale of Telstra funds helped kick-start things, along with a small Lotterywest grant. Mamabulanjin, Yawuru and Goolarabooloo Indigenous organizations have already contributed, and so have many other groups and even parts of the bureaucracy, such as Watercorp. A further announcement will be made by our indigenous partners in due course, but these are exciting times.

Now it’s time for environmental groups to get involved too. Buy our trees and plant them. It does  more for the environment than Facebook activism, whining and blockading. Indigenous elders like Noel Pearson from Cape York, and local Communities like NBY and Noonkanbah have now woken up to the propaganda.

g c theo 053

Eric and Wayne under 'Jigal' tree Bauhinia cunninghamii

Eric and Wayne under ‘Jigal’ tree Bauhinia cunninghamii

green corps 018

Green Corps, real environmentalists, 'looking after country

Green Corps, real environmentalists, ‘looking after country

Berkeley 001 Berkeley 002

Ipomoea costata

Ipomoea costata

Update, another EPA process underway, attacked by the Green lobby:

Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) chairman Paul Vogel is visiting the Kimberley today, as part of an assessment of a proposed coal mine.

About Tom Harley

Amateur ecologist and horticulturalist and CEO of Kimberley Environmental Horticulture Inc. (Tom Harley) Kimberley Environmental Horticulture Incorporated Kimberley Environmental Horticulture (KEH) is a small group of committed individuals who promote the use of indigenous plants for the landscaping of parks and gardens. Rehabilitation of Kimberley coast, bushland and pastoral regions are also high on our agenda. This includes planting seedlings, weed control, damage from erosion or any other environmental matter that comes to our attention. We come from all walks of life, from Professionals and Trades oriented occupations, Pensioners and Students, Public Servants and the Unemployed. We have a community plant nursery where we trial many old and new species, with a view to incorporating these into our landscaping trials. Our labour force are mainly volunteers, but with considerable help from the 'work for the dole' program, Indigenous Community Development Employment Program (CDEP) groups and the Ministry of Justice, with their community work orders; in this way we manage to train many people in the horticultural skills needed for indigenous plant growing. We constantly undertake field trips that cover seed and plant collection in the Kimberley. Networking around the Kimberley region and the east Pilbara is a necessary part of promoting our activities. We consult on a range of Environmental and Landscaping matters that deal with our region. Our activities involve improving Broome's residential streetscapes by including 'waterwise' priciples in planting out nature strips. Sustainable environmental horticulture is practised by members of our group. We use existing vegetation as the backbone of any plantings, using these species to advantage when planning to develop tree forms or orchards. The Broome region is sensitive to development. Subsequently many weed species have become dominant in and around developed areas. The use and movement of heavy machinery is the biggest single cause of environmental degradation. We dont live in a 'Tropical Paradise' but on the edge of the Great Sandy Desert. The plants that survive best here, grow in well-drained pindan sand, and are found from the Dampier Peninsular southward to where average rainfall is below 600mm. When we use rainforest species, detail is important when planting, water catchment, sunlight and understorey species are all considered. The use of recycled 'grey' water is an advantage here as well as treated waste-water, although many local species do not fare well with nutrients from this source. We use waterwise planting methods which include harvesting asmuch rainwater as possible, with swales designed to hold up to 200 litres, to help recharge the local groundwater aquifer. There has been a serious decline in this aquifer over the last few years. With the fast expansion of the Broome peninsular, more and more land is being covered by concrete, iron and bitumen so that much less water is available to replenish the aquifer, allowing the salt content to become significantly higher. The small Broome Peninsular is on the south-western corner of the Dampier Peninsular (bound by Broome, Derby and Cape Leveque at the northern tip). Compaction by vehicles also inhibits water retention due to the content of our local pindan sand, hard as concrete in the dry, going to soft and sloppy mud after rain. None of us are botanists, inevitably we have got some names wrong, names changed, or have not gone to sub-species level. If you note a photo or description may be wrong, please e-mail to
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6 Responses to Conservation of the Kimberley … enrichment of the Savannah

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