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The Crossing

Improving habitat for White-bellied Crimson Finch (Kowanyama country)

This project implements recommendations of the National Recovery Plan for Neochmia evangelinae, the White-bellied Crimson Finch (WBCF), or “our little red bird” as it is fondly known to locals. 

The project is designed to engage and up-skill people in the remote Aboriginal community of Kowanyama.

The deliverables are informed by initial survey work undertaken in 2017-18 which showed promise (ref:

The majority of the budget is allocated to management actions we know will work, while about 20% is allocated to a new initiative. We think this mix will deliver the best value for money to implement the National Recovery Plan at this location.

WBCF is endemic to Cape York Peninsula and the Trans-Fly region of New Guinea. Populations near Kowanyama are the highest priority as habitat across the extensive Mitchell River delta is under a combination of pressures that could seriously impact viability of the species. The worst of these pressures are due to inappropriate fire, overgrazing and trampling, and encroachment by weeds.

The management actions necessary to protect and extend WBCF habitat are outlined in the Recovery Plan, and there are practical, cost-effective methods to deliver these solutions.


The project takes place on Aboriginal Freehold Land owwned by the PBC, Abm Elgoring Ambung Aboriginal Corporation. The permission and support of the PBC is the first step for all of this work on country.

Kowanyama Aboriginal Council host the KALNRMO Ranger program and provide seamless integration with Council plant and facilities. The leadership of CEO Gary Uhlmann is essential for the success of the project, particularly in the township areas.

Rangers from the Kowanyama Aboriginal Land & Natural Resource Management Office (KALNRMO) are skilled fire managers and weed control specialists. They are also adept at field survey work and are highly regarded as leaders in the community. The Ranger program coordinator is Scott Olds.

Propagation of the endemic canegrass is supported by Karen and Stephen Dunell through RISE Ventures.

Survey and habitat assessment work is coordinated by Dr Ray Pierce.

Local intelligence, knowledge, and wisdom kindly facilitated by Viv Sinnamon.



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