Title: Weed control for threatened species habitat
Overview: The Pilbara Mesquite Management Committee (PMMC) has been operating locally in the Pilbara region since 2001, working primarily with land managers to battle weed issues on pastoral leases, mining tenements and conservation estates.
Ultimately, this project aims to improve habitat for the Pilbara populations of the greater bilby (Macrotis lagotis) and the northern quoll (Dasyurus hallucatus). Their survival depends on a number of interacting factors including undertaking fire management, maintenance of breeding and foraging habitat diversity, control of introduced predators and weed infestations. Building capacity of Pilbara Aboriginal groups to undertake future weed and fire management activities is also critical to future successes.
Outcomes: Starting with a focus on mesquite (Prosopis spp), PMMC has since broadened to include a range of invasive weed species affecting Pilbara land managers (including parkinsonia (Parkinsonia aculeata), belly ache bush (Jatropha gossypiifolia) and cacti species). It now has a membership of 38 representatives from 27 pastoral, mining, government and community organisations. Using lessons learned from the mesquite programs, the PMMC has diversified to undertake an Upper Fortescue River parkinsonia management strategy, involving participation by Roy Hill Station, Department of Parks and Wildlife, Fortescue Metals Group and Roy Hill Iron Ore. Extensive work has also been undertaken with the Ngurrawaana Rangers to control parkinsonia in the Fortescue River Catchment’s Leramungadu Lease.
Investment: Rangelands NRM have been a pivotal supporting organisation, supporting PMMC’s project manager position since its inception. Funding has also been received from the Australian Government’s Caring for Our Country, National Landcare Programme, and Biodiversity Fund. In terms of industry investment, the initial commitment of $300,000 by the Citic Pacific Mining in weed projects is now an annual investment nearing $1 million by resource company partners.
Jo Kuiper, PMMC Project Manager
[Link to Video] ‘Mining Partnerships: We can dig it‘ presentation at the 2015 Australian Rangelands Society Conference in Alice Springs 12-16 April 2015. By Linda Anderson