Group formed to tackle pest plants

21 Jul 2015

Eleven properties in the upper Gilbert River in the Etheridge Shire of north Queensland have banded together in partnership with Northern Gulf Resource Management Group and Southern Gulf Catchments to tackle environmental and economic weeds of the area

Three of the nine grazing properties also have Nature Refuges on them and two of properties are National Parks

The main weed to be controlled in the area is Rubber Vine Cryptostegia grandiflora a runaway ornamental plant which is now rampant in many areas particularly along rivers where it is choking native trees. The area is home to sparse populations of the Koala Phascolarctos cinereus and the vine threatens the trees by the river where koalas reside. Plants also grow on river flats previously inhabited by native grasses which provided food for seed-eating birds and cattle alike.

The initial meeting of the Gilbert River Headwaters Action Group was held at Gilberton Station in May 2015 and was well attended by both landowners and officials from state (Biosecurity Queensland) and local government (Etheridge Shire) departments, who gave their backing to the project. Landowners who couldn’t make it to the meeting voiced their support through emails.

The plan for the group is to tackle weeds in a strategic manner, first mapping the weeds, then planning a control strategy starting at the top of the catchment, and utilising various control methods to suit the location and scale of weed infestations.

Other pest plants identified in the region were Physic Nut Jatropha curcas, Rubber bush or Calotrope Calotropus procera and, although a native plant, Heart-leaf Poison Bush Gastrolobium grandiflorum is responsible for considerable mortality in cattle.

Nathan Morgan of Biosecurity Queensland demonstrates use of the splattergun for weed control. Photo by Kieran Palmer

Nathan Morgan of Biosecurity Queensland demonstrates use of the splattergun for weed control. Photo by Kieran Palmer

 

Discussion of pest plant issues at meeting of the new landcare group. Photo by Kieran Palmer.

Discussion of pest plant issues at meeting of the new landcare group. Photo by Kieran Palmer

rubber vine

Rubber Vine flower. Photo by Michael Anthony

Rubber Vine chokes streamside trees and river flats. Photo by Michael Anthony

Rubber Vine chokes streamside trees and river flats. Photo by Michael Anthony

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Wildlife Management