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10 Deserts Project News

MAY 2020

First on-country steering committee meeting
Ross River

The 10DP Steering Committee (SC) held its first on-country meeting in March at Ross River, east of Alice Springs. While unexpected rains made it difficult for some traditional owners to get there, everyone who attended thought the location and being on-country a really positive experience. Ross River is Arrernte land, and we were grateful to be on their country.

At the meeting, Leah Feuerherdt, general manager Alinytjara Wilurara Natural Resource Management, resigned her position and has taken up a new position with Conservation Management. James Theissen will replace Leah in the interim and will join us on the SC.

Meet our new partners!
Yanunijarra Aboriginal Corporation

The Yanunijarra Aboriginal Corporation (YAC) are the project’s first ‘associate partner’.  YAC manage a team of rangers, who carry out conservation and land management work and they are developing a tourism management strategy for their part of the Canning Stock Route.

YAC look after Ngurrara Country in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.  A part of the KLC, chair of YAC Peter Murray is also deputy chair of the 10DP SC.

Conservation partner

Following its incorporation in its own right, Country Needs People will join the project as a conservation partner along with the Pew Charitable Trust, The Nature Conservancy and Arid Lands Environment Centre. 

The Country Needs People campaign is not-for-profit, nonpartisan and works with all sides of politics for a positive outcome. It is a growing alliance of over 40 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander land and sea management organisations, the Pew Charitable Trusts and tens of thousands of Australians.

Project evaluation

Conservation Management (CM) have been contracted to conduct independent evaluations of the project. CM consultants Adam Pennington and Gaye McKenzie attended and presented to the SC meeting at the Ross River meeting.

The evaluation will be conducted in three parts:

  1. Mid-term evaluation: this will take place over the next six months and is designed to have a hard look at what the the project has achieved so far and ask ‘are we going the right way? What do we need to change to keep this project on target?’
  2. End of the project evaluation in 2022:  this will focus on project achievements. We are hopeful that this evaluation can be used to influence and leverage future investments in the desert.
  3. Social impact: this evaluation is designed to understand what impact the 10DP has had for Indigenous people in the project area.
COVID-19 & 10 Deserts Project activities

The 10 Deserts team have been working from home since the Covid-19 pandemic started.  We have kept working via Zoom with each other and with our project partners.

As restrictions are easing across the states and the Northern Territory, we will continue to monitor state/territory and federal decisions and continue to be cautious in our approach.  We continue to work with our Indigenous project partners to plan and implement the project activities we can during this period. 

As always, the health and well-being of Indigenous communities, project partners, staff and associates is essential.

Stay safe and look after each other.

Project staff changes
  • Peter See has announced that he is stepping down as general manager for the project at 30 June. Peter will move into a temporary part-time role focussing on sustainability and strategy. Plans for his replacement will be announced shortly.
  • Phil Sparrow will be acting general manager from 1 July.  The general manager position will be openly advertised once Covid-19 restrictions are eased.
  • Vanessa Harris, who has been on parenting leave, has returned to work in a part-time capacity working on contract management and reporting.
  • Tim Leane, who is our fire management officer working with Gareth, has moved back to Alice Springs and is now working part-time until September. He will focus on implementing the regional fire management strategy in the NT and supporting CLC fire management where possible.
Virtual Peru

The BHP Foundation Environment Resilience Network Partners (ERNPs) annual conference was to be held in Peru at the end of March but.... due to Covid-19 the conference was cancelled.  

Zoom replaced travel and a virtual conference went ahead.  The 10 Deserts Project is one of seven Environmental Resilience projects the Foundation enables globally. 

Peter See 10DP general manager,  program manager Phil Sparrow and project monitoring & evaluation officer Hannah Cliff participated in three days of online meetings.  The meetings were a great way for the ERNPs to share learning, build relationships and to think creatively about the challenges ahead.  

An full report from meeting was produced by The Knowledge Network, and is available here  

Fire Management

With the Covid-19 restrictions in place, the majority of our field work has been put on hold.  However, we are hoping to see some resumption of burning work in late June or July, as well as conducting training later in the year.

Even under these tough conditions, some work has gone ahead within the project region.  Well done to the rangers in the north west of Western Australia!

New fire brochure

The fire management team have been developing this new brochure which includes practical guidelines for fire management activities to be conducted throughout the year. For more information email or call 0402 615 313.

Sustainability, Carbon & Co-benefits

A key area of focus for the project is how can we sustain the project outcomes for the long-term.

To date we have investigated carbon credits feasibility under the Australian Government’s Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF), explored the development of a healthy country credit, developed and commenced implementation of a regional tourism strategy and lodged a couple of proposals for a Right-way Desert Fire Program and funding for new Indigenous ranger teams in the desert.

Regional Indigenous Tourism

The 10 Deserts Project is starting to implementing the Regional Tourism strategy and supporting Indigenous land management organisations with their tourism initiatives. 

Read More
Our new blog
Coming soon: Stories from the desert

We are excited to be launching Stories from the Desert our new blog! The blog can be found in the news section on our website and will feature stories on the wonderful and unique plants and animals found in the Australian desert country!

Indigenous Desert Alliance

The 10 Deserts Project is pleased to be supporting the IDA for the following events...

Southern Deserts Ranger Forum
11-13 August 2020

Continuing to stay connected by virtual online conference - exciting details released soon!

IDA Conference 2020
9-12 November 2020

We are still proceeding with planning the annual IDA Conference at the Voyages Conference Centre Yulara, Uluru.

Attendees arrive Monday 9 November, with the conference starting Tuesday 10 November 2020 through to (and including) Thursday 12 November 2020.

Our Project Partners

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10 Deserts Project

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The 10 Deserts Project acknowledges the traditional owners of the country throughout Australia and recognises their continuing connection to land, waters and community. We pay our respects to elders past, present and future.