cockatoo sponge rebuild

“Environmental Open-Heart Surgery” in the Kimberley

January 2018 Dad/Grosspapa (Bob Henggeler Senior) passed away and family happenings have since taken precedence.

This project remains on hold for the while, and we plan in April 2022 to resume, but do watch this space…



10-year-not-for-profit project

  • Enabling members of the public to be part of creating a greener foot-print
  • Hands-on training for ecological doctors!
  • Transparent accountability of costs and cash-flow 

In a 22-minute TED-talk, Antonio Donato Nobre points out how

forests not only function as a lung, but also as a heart:

More grass, more water   -   Healthy wetlands and sponges, more reliable micro-climate

The former we can now measure. This remains core-business of Kachana Pastoral Company.


The latter we intend to demonstrate in a ten-year project.

We plan to rebuild a wooded sponge in the upper catchment of Cockatoo Creek.

(1985, when we first saw this area, it was already ecologically dysfunctional.)

Our ambitious challenge lies beyond the obligations of any pastoral operation.

This is a challenge of custodianship and regeneration of eco-system function in order to benefit future generations.

Such a challenge lies beyond the typical life-span of government programs which is why we require support from members of the public. 

April 2022, we plan to begin “environmental open-heart surgery”

We are looking for collaborators!


We have access to natural capital: sunshine, water and a promising location.

A critical portion of social capital is already at our disposal: knowledge, skills, tools and leadership.

An additional commitment of social capital is required to make up fully functional teams each year.

And yes, we require financial capital to enable things to run safely and smoothly during the start-up years.

Global challenges, natural solutions    -    We address water-security and microclimate 

Offset your private environmental foot-print by participating in broader landscape regeneration and proactive eco-system management. Book now or please email us for further enquiries.


Based on over 30 years of local knowledge we anticipate a ten-year horizon, after which this project should be self-funding.



  • Mark perimeters; g.p.s. coordinates of key points
  • Early April 2022 and each year thereafter: fire-proof project area
  • Create internal fire contingency measures
  • Identify and map key areas within project site where leverage could be applied
  • Identify and commence ongoing carbon trapping activities
  • Determine and manage monitor sites and invite external monitoring
  • Biological inoculations
  • Workshops, field-days and research
  • Management of a self-sustaining entity
  • Integration into broader Landscape Management Plan


Dr Walter Jehne reminds us that time for implementing solutions is running out.

We invite and welcome rigorous scientific analysis of work we do.

In the balance of theory and practice, we favour a steady increase of practical implementation.


Project foci:

  • Generating and maintaining effective eco-system function
  • Treatment of at-risk landscapes with managed human and/or animal-impact
  • Accumulating experience, knowledge and skills
  • Sharing experience, knowledge and skills with others
  • The design of a replicable model of community-driven sub-catchment regeneration


This is an invitation to actively participate with Kachana Pastoral Company in this endeavour.


Ways in which to participate:

  • Hands-on participation
  • Paying guest participating in the learning experience
  • Contributions towards costs
  • Sponsorship by ethical commercial or corporate entities is always welcome
  • Political and departmental endorsement and/or partnerships


We invite everybody and anybody to take up this challenge!

(Maintaining the environmental integrity of the area remains a priority. This means that not all contributors can be on-site at one time. We therefore limit the numbers of people present at any particular time.)

the back drop

Healthy food can be achieved at enterprise or at property-levels. 

Water security and climate challenges remain community challenges.


By restoring the ecosystem function of an area in line with what nature had there in the first place, we address all three challenges: stabilised climate, water security and good healthy food.

project costs and cash-flow

The Cockatoo Sponge Project is a not-for-profit project and all costs shall be transparently accounted for.

This project is to serve as a pilot-project that can be replicated in other inaccessible water-sheds and sub-catchment areas.

Access to the area is granted by Kachana Pastoral Company and the project is initially to be led by Chris Henggeler until such time as it becomes self-sustaining. 

As a pilot project seed-funding will be required.

Given the “learning-site” nature of the project, training opportunities and the unique setting, it is envisaged that the project can become self-funding within a three-year time frame.


Annual commitment required:

10 working days over a 14-day period commencing the second week after Easter each year

2022: Monday 25th April to Friday 06th May

2023: Monday 17th April to Friday 28th April

2024: Monday 08th April to Friday 19th April

2025: Monday 28th April to Friday 09th May

2026: Monday 13th April to Friday 24th April

2027: Monday 05th April to Friday 16th April


Six people and two team-leaders per group.


2022 – anticipated costs


Travel costs:             Include Aus $600 for the RETURN- flight Kununurra – Kachana

Eco-contribution:     Not applicable for those making hands-on contributions

Camping:                   $35 per person per day – Not applicable if you bring your own equipment

Food:                          $30 per person per day (all meals but no alcohol)


Offset your private environmental foot-print by participating in broader landscape regeneration and proactive eco-system management.


Book now or please email us for further enquiries.

related links

In a key-note presentation, Chris Henggeler outlined the ‘re-hydration challenge’ of remote catchments to delegates at a “FIRE FORUM” hosted by DFES, Broome 2017:

“Custodianship is core business.”  (For a PFD version of the slides and text please CLICK HERE )


We are all in this together, and when we rehydrate landscapes, everybody wins!

“Key to writing a better water story, is how we influence the behaviour of ultimately all herbivores in a landscape. Processes that nature uses to build wealth have been around forever. We see an opportunity here for old and new Australians (people, animals and plants) to support each other to reinstate such processes.” Chris Henggeler, Kachana Station -  How to Heal Country?


Kachana Station: A Home for Donkey-Led Restoration, a post by Tania Roa of ‘Biodiversity for a Livable Climate’ delves into the roles that large herbivores can, do or should play in certain contexts.


Kachana Pastoral Company Uncensored  - As custodians we remain committed to accountability.