15242: Innovative control of a significant infestation of strategically important WoNS.

    • The project is important to the community because it demonstrates how small groups of people are able to work pro-actively, in this case towards the eradication of an extremely undesirable plant in the landscape. The initial infestation extended over 1,000 hectares with control in 2014 and 2015 has now controlled 800 ha. We were not even sure at the beginning of how successful we would be, however preliminary results indicate this project's methodology may be a useful tool for application elsewhere in WA. Results to date appear positive and our group is encouraged as a result. Increased social interaction by way of meetings and workshops has been another desirable outcome for the project.
    • The cactus, Opuntia elatior poses a significant impediment to the movement of humans, livestock and native animals. The largest plants are up to four metres tall with a radius of over seven meters. Severe injury and subsequent infection from the spines of the plant is highly likely. The infestation has been contained but the largest plants have been treated and the outer parts of the plant controlled but need a new technique to kill the inner core of the plants.
    • This project will use a chainsaw and the cut stump method to cut down the remaining plants and to directly apply herbicide to the stump to ensure that the largest plants are killed..
    • The project has already created "awareness". Travellers on the Great Northern Highway are noticing the treated plants and our group members and other landholders, miners and prospectors are now on the lookout for "plants which do not belong". The project clearly demonstrates a desire by pastoralists in our group to manage such landcare issues and to protect areas from pest plants in the rangelands. Practices such as disposing of garden refuse at the tip have come under much closer scrutiny!
    • Further to the south at Ninghan Station, owners Don and Leah Bell have commenced a programme to treat cactus on their property. They are in consultation with the RF & P to ascertain the best treatment methods and are pleased with the outcomes thus far. Ninghan is in active communication with the RF & P to ensure best outcomes for their project going forward.

    Project duration: July 2016 - February 2018
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