The Oak Valley Rangers protect and manage the natural and cultural values of the Maralinga Tjarutja Lands (MT Lands), which lie mostly within the Great Victoria Desert - a vast area with rich biodiversity covering 12 per cent of South Australia.
The landscapes are diverse: vast semi-desert dune systems, stark limestone plains, ancient paleo channels, Black Oak plains, Mable Gum-studded sand hills, as well as Mallee and Mulga woodlands. Included is Mamungari Conservation Park, one of the most remote continental conservation areas on the planet, and Section 400 - the area used by the British for nuclear testing.
Much of the MT lands have remained unvisited since traditional times of pre British nuclear testing in the 1950s. Rangers are now reconnecting with their country, revisiting sacred sites and water sources, and empowering elders to pass on traditional knowledge and authority to manage the country for generations to come.
The rangers are motivated to effectively control threats to their diverse landscapes and iconic threatened species, mainly Buffel Grass, camels and other feral animals, as well as to provide valuable tourist and visitor management services. Traditional cool season burning practices are proudly continued as they are the only effective protection from summer bush fires, and also stimulate biodiversity and promote traditional food resources.
The Oak Valley Rangers program works in partnership with the 10 Deserts Project, The Indigenous Desert Alliance, Alinytjara Wilurara Natural Resources Management Board and the Mamungari Board to ensure there is a balance between the needs of people and the needs of the environment. In addition, the program works closely with the Oak Valley School by organising bush trips and contributing to cultural and language education.