The King River region near Katherine will be better protected after the Jawoyn Association signed a ten-year conservation agreement.

The Territory Conservation Agreement (TCA) will protect 168 hectares including two significant springs, rainforest and cultural sites.

Derkolo clan traditional owner and Jawoyn Ranger project manager Steven Andrews said the agreement will protect an important archaeological area in the region.

“There’s over 40 identified cultural sites, including rock art and engravings,” Mr Andrews said. They will also remove feral animals including buffalos, cattle, horses and donkeys, set up permanent pig traps and install six kilometres of fencing to keep them out.

Jawoyn Land Management Coordinator Liam Golding said the agreement with Territory Natural Resource Management will also see rangers carry out weed control and continue appropriate fire management regimes.

“Scientific monitoring will record changes in water quality, vegetation and expected recovery of existing erosion,” Mr Golding said.

“Water will be cleaner, and people will feel safer when they go to visit these sites and use the river for cultural and family reasons.

“There will be a greater awareness of environmental and cultural significance of the area and an increased appreciation of conservation works.”

Parts of the land once experienced intensive pastoral use but the Banatjarl Women’s Group have since established a food garden and bush medicine base, and Jawoyn people hunt, fish and camp in the area.

The agreement takes the number of hectares being voluntarily conserved by landholders across the Northern Territory to almost 50,000, since not for profit organisation Territory Natural Resource Management set up the program six years ago.

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