Cap Coast weed dilemma solved by smart collaboration

Weed management is a prickly topic on the Capricorn Coast that requires careful planning and carrying out to be efficient, especially when local government land backs on to a National Park.

That was what happened at Bluff Rock in Rosslyn Bay where Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) manage the noxious weed, lantana, high biomass grasses and the notorious coral creeper which smothers other plants. If these weeds are not controlled, they will transform the plant community by out-competing and taking over native plants and, increasing fire damage risk which causes change in the vegetation state.

The managed land is next to a road reserve managed by Livingstone Shire Council (LSC). Weeds do not obey boundaries, fence lines or deadlines, so for effective control, sharing knowledge and collaboration between authorities is crucial.

Fitzroy Basin Association (FBA) has a reputation for managing complex natural resource projects that involve multiple delivery partners to achieve desired results. Its hands on approach, network of specialist service providers and experience mediating win-win solutions saw FBA involved in this important project.

Having worked with both QPWS and LSC in the past, FBA facilitated exchanges of information intending to align weed control scheduling.

The threat being that, if spraying started at Bluff Rock and LSC did not do the same in a selected period, active weeds in the LSC reserve would re-infest the National Park range, undoing efforts.

With no physical barrier between the two areas to prevent weed spread and no schedule of co-ordinated management, wasted time, money and resources would occur if spraying schedules did not align. FBA facilitated exchanges between QPWS and LSC intending to bring both bodies to work in tandem for a better conclusion.

FBA Science Officer Mac Hansler met with representatives of LSC and QPWS on location at Bluff Rock to discuss solutions and timing. The preferred outcome was for both sides to undertake weed management on the road reserve and Bluff Rock simultaneously to minimise chances of reinfestation.

On site at Bluff Rock

FBA’s Mr Hansler said, “aligning National Park and LSC spraying schedules at the same stage was an excellent arrangement that will offer beneficial results for the local environment”.

“There’s no substitute for getting out on location to gain a stronger idea of what’s happening and what solutions will be most useful. Working with LSC and QPWS brought together years of knowledge and on-ground experience that has resulted in an outcome that is best for the ecosystem.”

“We were happy to take part in these consultations and work with LSC and QPWS on such an important environmental project,” Mr Hansler said.

The benefit of collaboration on this project is a valuable lesson showing it saves time, money, and resources, delivering a better result for natural assets and the community who love and use this space.

With both weed management programs now aligned, there is less likelihood of Bluff Rock requiring further costly control measures on National Park land in the future.