15099: Rubber Vine Eradication along the Fitzroy River through Ground Control

    Rubber Vine is a Weed of National Significance and a declared pest in Western Australia under the Biosecurity and Agricultural Management Act with a categorisation of Eradication C2 for the Whole of the State. A benefit-cost analysis undertaken in 2014 for DAFWA, estimated that the eradication of the current infestations in the East and West Kimberley will prevent damages of $10.9 million per year over a 30-year period based on agricultural (pastoral) impacts alone (Cook, David 2014, Impact Assessments for Declared Plants in Western Australia). To this must be added large ecological benefits.
    Through efforts over a number of years, the current infestation of Rubber Vine in West Kimberley has been reduced by an estimate of more than 99%. Historically distributed over an area of around 26,500 ha, there are currently only 140 known sites of Rubber Vine infestation (see Attachment 2). These sites are referred to as 'Return Sites' which are localized areas of seeding centered on a single breeding vine. The Rubber Vine plants located in these sites were treated when found but require return visits. With no new seedlings or vines found in follow up inspections these sites are then considered eradicated and removed from the list. It has been established that this takes between 1 and 3 years to achieve. 

    Only with consistent rigor can the ground team stay ahead of this weed and ensure eradication. This project aims to conduct 3 ground missions which will search and treat strategic areas of the original core infestation as well as manage and eliminate the Return Sites as required. A comprehensive operational plan for the next 5 years of the eradication program, has been developed by the Project Manager with the assistance of the WKRVSC and this will be adopted and reviewed to ensure it is up to date. 

    Scope of work undertaken within this project: 
    o The 3 missions per year with a three-person team.
    o Rigid grid search of sequential, strategic parts of the 60 square km Intense Infestation Area (the core of the full infestation area shown on Attachment 1 composing the area away from the Return Sites - where isolated plants still exist in areas of past widespread and intense seed distribution).
    o Search and mechanical and chemical control of any detected vines and seedlings in 140 Return Sites. 

    With this eradication work, a key process is follow up. It is not possible to be confident an area is cleared without several follow up searches. Plants are dynamic and by their very nature grow, meaning they become more visible with time. 

    The purpose of this work is to
    1. Search for isolated vines at known sites.
    2. Continue to control and confirm clearance of all Return Sites. 
    3. Search of specific strategic areas within the project area.


    Investment: $ 55 000
    In-kind contribution: $ 116 000
    Delivery organisation: West Kimberley Rubber Vine Steering Committee
    Project duration: July 2016 - May 2017
    Location: Derby-West Kimberley, Shire of
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