Surveys conducted for a new National Park access road and day-use areas in the northern section of Murujuga National Park have confirmed the area’s extraordinary cultural and natural riches, while highlighting the need for sensitive infrastructure design.
The surveys, comprising Aboriginal heritage, fauna and geo-technical studies, were conducted this year on behalf of Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation (MAC) in preparation for the development of a six-kilometre, two-lane sealed access road to Conzinc Bay and two day-use areas.
MAC is partnering with the WA Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) and the City of Karratha in the $27.3 million project.
The surveys included two seasons of fauna monitoring which identified that more than 90 bird species including seabirds, migratory and resident shore birds, raptors and passerines (perching birds) use the beaches at Conzinc Bay, and flatback, hawksbill and green turtles seasonally nest on the beaches.
These findings build on a 2020 study that identified 310 native terrestrial vertebrate fauna species in the area, including frogs, reptiles, birds and mammals.
Cultural heritage surveys conducted this year by MAC members and archaeologists under the guidance of the Murujuga Circle of Elders located numerous sites which when combined with the environmental data, will be used to inform the design of infrastructure and identify opportunities to share information about culture and the natural environment with visitors.
A controlled burn conducted by DBCA with support from MAC and other stakeholders in July greatly reduced vegetation between Withnell Bay and Conzinc Bay, thus assisting ground surveys.
Comments attributed to DBCA Pilbara Regional Leader – Parks and Visitor Services, Matthew Verdouw:
“We would like to thank the Karratha community for their patience and support over the past 12 months. Since changing vehicle access, we have been able to deliver successful outcomes for the Murujuga project.
“We are very lucky to have such a beautiful attraction in our own backyard, and we are very excited to deliver the next steps of this project.
“Conzinc Bay is easily accessible by boat, and it’s been great to see people out there, exploring this beautiful part of the Pilbara.”
Comments attributable to MAC Chief Executive Officer, Kim Wood:
“The fauna, geotechnical and cultural heritage surveys are a vital step in sensitively planning the road and associated infrastructure in the northern Burrup.
“We are excited to be working with DBCA and the City through the necessary steps to realise this project.
“The Murujuga Circle of Elders and MAC Board of Directors believe we all have a role in protecting Murujuga and they have said they want to build a shared pride in the ancient history of Australia through the sharing of culture.”
Photo (credit: Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation): Conzinc Bay, in northern Murujuga National Park
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