Photo: Vernon Sadler (DBCA) with bagged up seed heads collected off plants to be destroyed. Photo credit: John-Paul Slaven (DPIRD)
2019 saw another successful year towards the eradication of Rubber Vine (Cryptostegia grandiflora) located on the southern shores of Lake Argyle. Rubber Vine is native to Madagascar and is a weed of national significance in Australia. If left unchecked it smothers native vegetation and forms impenetrable thickets.
This is a collaborative project between the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA), Raitech, the Kimberley Rangelands Biosecurity Association (KRBA) and Argyle Diamond Mine. The Kija Aboriginal Rangers were also engaged to contribute to the search for and removal of all rubber vine plants in the Limestone Creek area – a tributary flowing into Lake Argyle.
Combating the weed involves annual aerial surveys and follow up ground control. Around 34,000 hectares were covered during the 2019 survey. Fire was also introduced through aerial burning into the core infestation area to improve access and help reduce the seed bank. Approximately 3500 Rubber Vine plants were found and destroyed during the 2019 program, which is approximately half of what was found during 2018, reducing mature plants and further seed drop in the area helping towards the goal of eradication.
Results obtained will help guide planning and control efforts for future years control determining timings, access and areas of focus for aerial and ground efforts. The benefits of this eradication program include increased security of the environmental and pastoral assets of the Kimberley as well as protecting cultural values and tourism.
This program is funded through the State NRM Community Stewardship Grants, KRBA, DPIRD and DBCA.