By: Natural Asset Management Coordinator, Travis Sydes...
I dusted off the boots and joined staff from Councils, parks and wildlife, Biosecurity QLD, Jabalbina Yalanji and Western Yalanji to tackle hiptage in the Mossman district during a regional taskforce operation in early November. Hiptage is a (very) weedy vine from the sub-continent which poses a significant threat to the Wet Tropics forests and waterways if we don't succeed in pulling it up at this single location outbreak in Mossman. The following extract from Pete Logan (CRC) who organised the operation tells the story.
"The 2013 Hiptage Taskforce was a great success with a total of 35 people participating in on-ground control activities throughout the week. Approximately 6 hectares of Hiptage infestation spread over an area of approximately 140 hectares was treated during the event. Of the 77 waypoints located during the aerial survey, all 77 sites were ground truthed and treated. At 72 of the 77 sites, parent plants were located and destroyed during the taskforce. The remaining five unfound waypoints have since been revisited, mature plants located and treated by council's land management staff. It is estimated that approximately >122,000 plants were treated over the 3.5 day control period. The cost of the taskforce was $7585, jointly funded by CRC and QPWS. A total of 611 man hours were contributed in in-kind on-ground effort at an estimated value of $30k.
The excellent work undertaken by this taskforce has enabled Cairns Regional Council to capitalise on the region's skilled professionals and resources to target outlying hiptage infestations, in high priority areas. The taskforce conquered areas that otherwise seemed overwhelming and somewhat unachievable.
This Taskforce proved to be an excellent opportunity for staff to share their skills and knowledge in undertaking a variety of tasks during the event. I'm sure the experience gained by all has only improved the attendees' ability to successfully control problem weeds in their respective shires / areas. The efforts provided have also assisted in raising awareness of the threat hiptage poses to the Wet Tropics Bioregion, and has helped to contain the problem to Mossman in Far North Queensland.
Cairns Regional Council is extremely thankful for the huge effort and assistance provided by all agencies, Councils and volunteers who attended."
If you're unfamiliar with the Regional Taskforce MOU (2010) which assists local government operations like the Hiptage Taskforce then check out this link.
Delegates travelled from far and wide to present the latest in sustainable agriculture, water quality and catchment management at the Hinchinbrook NRM Forum in late November. With a lot riding on the future health of the reef and the profitability of our primary industries the forum provided detail on the latest innovations in industry and the science which supports it. Congratulations to Hinchinbrook Shire Council and Terrain NRM for the calibre of the presenters on board, the forum was as always a valuable regional event.
Following immediately on from the NRM forum we continued albeit with a focus on pest management within the FNQ Pest Advisory Forum. Around 80 attendees joined 25 presenters providing an overview of the latest in pest animals and weeds and their management. Some of the highlights were the Herbert River Community Pig Management Program, Queensland Stock Squad speaking in regard to trespass on farms and remote network cameras for monitoring. We are planning two larger forums for 2014 and a UAV workshop so watch this space.
Long anticipated and representing a profound change in the way we do business in regard to pest animals, weeds and pathogens, the Biosecurity Bill bundles multiple pieces of legislation into a single space for the first time in Queensland's history. From a local government perspective the Bill primarily replaces the Land Protection Pest and Stock Route Management Act 2002 and its Regulations, however multiple other aspects of the Bill are also highly relevant. FNQROC will prepare a submission in consultation with the NAMAC on behalf of the region but we also encourage individual Councils to comment.
On 19 November 2013, the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Hon John McVeigh MP, introduced the Biosecurity Bill 2013. In accordance with Standing Order 131, the Bills were referred to the Agriculture, Resources and Environment Committee for examination.
The committee invites submissions on the Bill until Monday 6 January 2014.
Note: based on the success of the two larger FNQ Pest Advisory Forums we held during 2013 we will be holding two major events again in 2014 which will align with every second meeting of the NAMAC.
NAMAC Strategic directions workshop - 21 February 2014, Cairns
FNQPAF - 19 & 20 March and NAMAC 21 March, Cassowary Coast
NAMAC - 22 August 2014, Cairns
NAMAC and FNQPAF - late October/ early November–– Tablelands (potentially in conjunction with the Malanda Small Farms Field Day) to be confirmed.
For more information or to keep in touch with new developments and forums in this space join our mailing list to receive meeting notifications head to the region's very own resource at the Far North Queensland Pest Advisory Forum Website.