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News: Pastoralists come together to tackle cactus infestations

A group of pastoralists have joined forces to remove cactus and prevent further spread in the West Gascoyne region.

The Lyndon LCDC is tackling multiple cactus infestations through Weed of National Significance funding from the Department of Agriculture and Food and assistance from the Carnarvon Rangelands Biosecurity Association and Rangelands NRM.

Three main infestations have been identified for this program on Quobba, Mardathuna and Warroora Stations.

Rangelands NRM Regional Landcare Facilitator Kane Watson attend a two-day spray program at Quobba on 11 May which saw eleven participants training and participating in identifying and treating weeds.

Mr Watson said regional participation to decrease the current infestations and prevent cactus spreading further in the district is well underway.

“The Lyndon LCDC members have sought assistance and expertise on how and when to spray cactus by engaging with professional chemical sprayers and pastoralists who have already completed cactus trials on their properties,” Mr Watson said.

Mr Watson said cactus is beginning to be eradicated in the area, after the hard work over the past three years at Manberry Station and Marrilla Station where a spot and spray program is continuing for the next five years.

“Members of the Lyndon LCDC are assisting and supporting each other in eradicating the cactus infestation in the region including Mardathuna, Quobba and Warroora Stations and volunteering to spot spray and monitor the affected sites,” Mr Watson said.

The group is also exploring technologies to monitor and evaluate their progress including the use of a drone.

“By coming together for this project members are better educated in identifying and treating weeds on stations and enabled to utilise these skills to achieve a higher standard of weed management,” Mr Waston said.

“It was just too big a problem to tackle before, I didn’t know where to start. Now it seems manageable,” Tim Meecham from Quobba Station said.

“It’s valuable getting these people together, sharing the knowledge and getting stuck into the cactus,” Jim Dorrell, from Mia Mia Station said.

“It is so good seeing all these people interested in getting this cactus problem under control, we really appreciate the help,” Aggie Forrester from Winning Station said.

Addition spray programs are being continued at Mardathuna and Warroora over the coming weeks.

“By making it a group effort significant ground can be covered in a short time period, making the future control manageable for individual land holders.”

This project is to expand these efforts and incorporate more land managers into the WoNS program, build capacity and provide benefit for enterprise and environment.

Image: Tim and Sara Meecham treating cactus infestation on Quobba. Photo by Kane Watson