Quick thinking prevents invasive weed outbreak

Released 13/03/2019

A quick response from the ACT Government’s new Biosecurity Emergency Response Team has prevented an infestation of invasive Coolatai Grass spreading in the ACT.

The high-risk species, which is native to South Africa, was spotted by a Parks and Conservation ranger along the Cotter Road near Duffy last week.

“Coolatai Grass is a very high-risk species that quickly dominates pastures and native grasslands and has destroyed large areas of native grasslands in the NSW Northern Tablelands,” Executive Director, Environment, Ian Walker said.

“Thanks to this early detection from a proactive ranger and a rapid response from our Biosecurity Emergency Response Team, we have prevented this damaging invader establishing itself in the ACT and stopped what could have been a long-term biosecurity battle.

“The infestation was removed and destroyed within hours of the detection. A thorough search of the surrounding area confirmed there were no other infestations nearby.

“Coolatai Grass is particularly nasty as it resists burning, slashing and herbicides and can outcompete other invasive weeds such as African Lovegrass.

“Biosecurity is everyone’s responsibility so we encourage anyone who suspects a grass of being invasive to report it on the web-based animal/plant identifier: https://canberra.naturemapr.org/.

“Experts will quickly check the report and if it is invasive the Biosecurity Emergency Response Team will immediately jump into action to control it.

“The team was set up under a new approach of ‘early detection and rapid response’, which not only prevents invasive grass becoming established but saves money by avoiding the costs of dealing with a bigger invasion further down the track.

“ACT Parks and Conservation staff working with colleagues in Transport Canberra and City Services have all undergone rapid response training and are deployed when there is a new incursion of a high risk invasive species like Coolatai Grass or cane toads,” Mr Walker said.

- Statement ends -

Section: ACT Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate | Media Releases

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