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The report reassesses the condition of formerly valuable grazing lands of the Fitzroy River valley frontage lands. It is hoped that the submission will promote discussion on the problems of degenerated pastoral land and increase the resolve of all concerned to take the necessary action for their restoration. The frontage lands flank the major rivers of the area, the Fitzroy, the Margaret and the Meda and their tributaries. The frontage is capable of supporting the best pastures in the Kimberley, but unwise and uncontrolled stocking has profoundly degraded and eroded the most productive parts. There are about 5,800 square kilometres of frontage country in the West Kimberley. Studies by CSIRO and by Western Australian government departments have shown that about 1,300 square kilometres of the frontage are in bad range condition with moderate or severe erosion. Although the degradation has been known to exist for many years, there have been no sustained attempts to overcome it or to restore the land to its former productive status. A collection of twenty-two plates in this report shows that the country has not improved over the past eight years and has deteriorated even further in some places. It is suggested that frontage country can be rehabilitated if the proper measures are taken. If action is not taken the situation can only worsen. The frontage country has the potential to support about 60,000 cattle units, but today it is estimated that 26,000 only can be carried. This represents a loss in turn-off of about 6,000 cattle a year worth well over one million dollars annually. The work of rehabilitation will involve fencing and stock control and the ploughing and reseeding of the degraded country.


Soil degradation, Fitzroy Valley (WA), Range management, Reclamation, Erosion, Western Australia, Rangelands


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