Rubber vine control in the East Kimberley may well have reached a watershed with the wind up of the 2014 control program.
According to project member Dick Pasfield of Ord Land and Water, even with the 50 per cent increase in plants found compared to 2013, it was evident in the verification survey work done in the tail end of the season that there was hardly a plant left to carry over into the wet season.
Additionally, the ratio of older plants compared to seedlings in 2014 skewed in favour of the older plants for the first time.
The noxious rubber vine Cryptostegia grandiflora is one of a number of Weeds of National Significance (WoNS) and ‘declared weed’ species that is being targeted in the region.
“This indicates that seed reserves in the ground were dwindling,” Mr Pasfield said.
In total over 15,000 plants were controlled over the 371 hectares of ground covered.
Mr Pasfield said the East Kimberley program has three focus locations; the main being centred around the Ord River and Bow River junctions on Lake Argyle ranging upstream for 14 kilometres.
The second is a satellite population situated around the Lissadell Homestead and Limestone Creek.
The last is a small area adjacent to the recently abandoned community of Oombulgurri situated 43 kilometres northwest of the Wyndham Townsite.
All locations are extremely isolated requiring either helicopters or 4WDs and boats to get to them.
Mr Pasfield said the program is significant in terms of its collaborative nature.
“Three state entities the Department of Agriculture and Food, the Department of Parks and Wildlife and State NRM, three non-government community groups Kimberley Rangelands Biosecurity Association, Ord Land and Water and Rangelands NRM and the industry groups Rio Tinto and the three affected pastoral stations all provide support for the program creating a formidable force in this current climate of economic constraint,” he said.
Image: Flowers of a mature rubber vine plant (Ord Land & Water)