Desktop study and workshops
The first step in the development of this plan was a desktop study of existing plans and other documents. 12 asset identification workshops were then held throughout the region. These were attended by a total of 136 people chosen for their good technical knowledge of the specific values of environmental assets in their area and the threats that might be impacting on them.
Attendees consisted of individual land managers, pastoralists, volunteer groups, landcare groups, non-government organisations, traditional owner groups, local governments, state government agencies and a university. Read results of the workshop feedback survey.
At these workshops, the INFFER™ process was used to nominate assets and then filter them against a set of criteria to identify those which looked like good prospects – that is, those with high significance, high levels of threat, good technical feasibility to address the threats, a high likelihood of securing the necessary levels of landholder participation and strong support from other relevant organisations, such as government agencies. In short, this process aimed to tease out projects with a high likelihood of success.
The outcomes of the desktop study and workshop were combined to produce an initial list of assets, called the Asset Register, and a shortlist of prospective projects (those that met the criteria mentioned above). Assets can be added to the Register at any time through completion of the Asset Nomination Form; new assets will be filtered annually by a technical advisory panel. In this way, the register is dynamic and information for specific assets can be updated as conditions change.
Normalising of data and collation
A normalising process was undertaken with a technical review panel to ensure consistency in the way assets were scored between subregions and at this time, some combining of assets, such as where an asset was nominated more than once, was also undertaken.
In order to make the results more easily interpreted and useful, assets were then categorised, essentially according to their scale, as Umbrella Assets, Significant Assets or Notable Assets (read more). This final list was then distributed to the original workshop attendees for their final review.
Incorporating Carbon Farming Initiative and Climate Change
Concurrently to this process, each asset was assessed against three newly created criteria to determine the potential implications of climate change on the relative values and threats, whether a project to address the threat(s) would offer the potential to generate carbon credits and whether potential nearby carbon farming initiatives could have a negative impact on the success of a proposed project. If this assessment resulted in any change to the likelihood of success of any potential projects on the short list, such as a reduction in confidence of our ability to address threats due to expected impacts from climate change, then these projects were removed from (or added to, in the case of a positive impact) the list.
Identification of the 2014-2018 Priority Areas
To strategically guide future investment over the next 5 years (2014-18 inclusive), Rangelands NRM has identified a number of priority areas at the subregional level (Kimberley, Pilbara, Gascoyne, Murchison, Goldfields-Nullarbor and the Desert) to ensure a proactive approach to achieving outcomes which are both realistic and focused. By providing a baseline on which to focus future opportunities, Rangelands NRM is acknowledging the political landscape, a dynamic environment with climatic extremes and our diverse population base.
Priority areas as identified are not in response to any particular funding program, rather they reflect what is needed in the region to conserve special environmental areas, nurture enthusiasm and involvement and address threats affecting environmental assets. Rangelands NRM does not expect to fund every asset in the priory areas (nor the area per se), rather the priority areas provide scope to be selective when choosing preferred projects within the subregions. Read more about the 2014-2018 priority areas.
Review and release
While the above assessments were being undertaken, a gap analysis was also carried out to determine whether any areas or asset types had been underrepresented in any of the subregions.
Once the initial Asset Register was completed and the remaining information for the plan was compiled, the draft online plan was released to the Rangelands NRM board and staff for their review in March 2014 and then on (to be confirmed) date, it was released to the community for comment.
Required changes were made, then the Rangelands NRM board officially endorsed the plan on (to be confirmed).