A project that gives land managers the tools to eradicate new weed invasions before the weeds get a stranglehold in sensitive bushland, coastal and alpine environments has won one of this year’s national Froggatt awards.
The annual awards recognise outstanding achievements in Australia’s fight against environmental weeds, diseases and pest animals.
“The Victorian Government’s Weeds at the Early Stage of Invasion Project empowers land managers to get in early and eradicate new, environmentally destructive weeds before they can get a foothold,” Invasive Species Council CEO Andrew Cox said today.
“The project has a particular focus on high-risk invasive weeds and advocates tackling them at the early stage of invasion, well before they have a chance to take over and harm local native plants and animals.
“Eradicating new weeds that pose real threats to Victoria’s native plants, animals and ecosystems is hard, but vital work if we are to keep our natural environment healthy.
“The Weeds at the Early Stage of Invasion Project creates a clear pathway to eradicating environmental weeds that is a much more successful and cost-effective approach than trying to manage new weeds once they become widespread.”
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The project team is powered by Kate Blood and Bianca Gold of the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.
“Treating early invader weeds can have hugely positive impacts for nature and our early invader tools can help biodiversity managers make tough decisions,” she said.
“Some of the weeds we are currently tackling include an introduced floating aquatic plant called Amazon frogbit, which is popular in fish ponds and aquariums but can rapidly invade and smother our waterways.”
The project was first developed in 2011. Tools developed include a 78-page manual, individual manuals for each stage of the decision-making process, field recording templates, a seasonal newsletter, workshops, webinars and regular social media posts.
By applying the Weeds at the Early Stage of Invasion framework, resources can be efficiently directed to respond to a new weed threat. While the program was developed for Victoria it could be easily adapted to all of Australia.