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Investment in weed risks and management strategies in the Pilbara

The Pilbara Corridors project will invest in an assessment of the weed risks and management strategies for a large part of the Pilbara that covers the Fortescue, DeGrey, Turner, Yule and Sherlock river catchments.

Dr Bill Cotching, Program Manager (Pilbara) from Rangelands NRM said this is a collaborative study between the Pilbara Corridors Project and the Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW) with co-funding from a mining offset that will be undertaken by the Ecosystem Sciences Division of CSIRO. CSIRO personal involved will include Dr John K. Scott as project leader, Dr Bruce Webber, Kathryn Batchelor and Noboru Ota.

“The project will produce a report focused on management and strategic issues from a ‘desk-top’ analysis, using data from published reports and publically available information,” Dr Cotching said.

The project will not involve field work or sampling in the study area but will report to local workshops during 2014 on species identified as quarantine risks with a final report to be published in 2015.

Relevant legislation and existing weed management plans will be reviewed and a census of recorded weed species undertaken from surveys, Environmental Impact Statements and any other weed records.

Assessments of the impacts of existing weeds and also the pathways for weed invasion will be undertaken along with the level of threat from potential weeds, such as those in neighbouring regions or in local gardens, landscaping and horticulture, and accounting for climate change will be included.

An assessment will be made of current control measures, both containment and eradication, using herbicides, mechanical removal and biological control agents.

Dr Cotching said the report will identify ecosystems most at risk and also what the priorities are for weed management.

“The Pilbara Corridors project will then be able to invest available funds in on-ground management of the weeds that pose the greatest threats to the Pilbara, whether those threats are to threatened species or ecosystems and whether they have economic, social or nuisance impacts,” he said.

For more information, contact Bill Cotching on 08 9144 2800 or email.

Caption: The weed Mesquite needs a collaborative approach to control its spread in the Pilbara (©T Belcher)