Released 16/01/2019

More than 80 invasive weed species have been controlled on more than 4000 hectares of national parks, nature reserves and water catchments in just the last six months, the Conservator for Flora and Fauna, Ian Walker, said today.

“The threat from invasive weeds is ongoing and relentless, so this massive effort by dedicated volunteers and the ACT Parks and Conservation Service is to be congratulated,” Mr Walker said.

“Invasive plants and weeds, such as African Lovegrass, are a particular group of weeds that spread aggressively, threatening biodiversity and water catchments and raising fire danger.

“Last year, efforts focused on protecting wildflower sites of high conservation value as part of continuing work to protect the ACT’s biodiversity, including threatened species.

“While Serrated Tussock, African Needle Grass and St John’s Wort were the top three targets, more than 80 other invasive plants were also targeted, including those escaping from gardens.

“The Parks and Conservation Service employed some innovative weed control methods, including use of all-terrain vehicles and drones. Pockets of Prickly Pear were reached by abseiling down cliffs.

“ParkCare groups are an enormous help in maintaining our local reserves. I would like to thank all ParkCare volunteers for their tireless efforts to keep invasive weeds at bay, making visiting reserves a better experience for the rest of us.

“We all have a shared biosecurity duty to control invasive plants, which quickly run rampant if not kept in continual check and threaten the integrity of our water catchments

“The Government has committed to on-going funding each year of $1.6m for invasive plant control in nature reserves, urban native grasslands, national parks and catchments and $0.7m for invasive plant control in offsets reserves, Lower Cotter and Molonglo River Reserve.

“If you are not sure whether a plant that looks lovely in your garden may pose a threat to our beautiful native species and biodiversity, check out the WeedWise website.

If you need help identifying a suspicious plant, post a photo to the citizen science website, Canberra Nature Map. For high risk invasive plants, an automatic email will alert our biosecurity team.

If you are interested in helping protect our reserves, why not join your local ParkCare group?  Mr Walker said.

- Statement ends -

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

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