Uttu is used by Traditional Owners as a garden island because of its rich soils and proximity to Poruma. Thertherpemm (garden boundaries), wells and baler shells built and used in the past are still present on the island, and we continue to cultivate the rich soils for growing plants. There are a recorded 50 species of plants found on Uttu (and Yarrparr) that have a cultural value or use, many of which are abundant and regenerating (such as gasi, kurad, guraigur, kubi, pitader, komak, gurrawad and pulla).
We sustainably harvest, collect and use many of the resources on Uttu and its surrounding reefs, including waru kakur (turtle eggs), urui kakur (seabird eggs), kayar (crayfish), kabar (trochus), bechede-mer, karbai (eastern reef egret), dugong, gasi (arrowroot) and other plants. The island is also a nesting site for wunuwa (hawksbill turtle), waru (green turtle), silaw (bridle and roseate tern), sara (bridled tern and roseate tern) and kipru (silver gull).
In the past, Uttu was also used for the local commercial harvest of beche-de-mer and trochus. Timber was also harvested for local use and the beche-de-mer industry, which has resulted in the decline of some plant species. Bird nesting habitats have also been impacted by past fire events. Current ranger work on the island includes biodiversity surveys, weed removal for Leucaena and other weeds, cultural site maintenance, visitation management activities, and the reinvigoration of our traditional gardens.