Weed control success highlighted at Pilbara meeting

The recent Pilbara Mesquite Management Committee (PMMC) field trip and AGM provided the opportunity to see on ground achievements to contain and treat Weeds of National Significance (WoNS) over three stations in the Pilbara.

One of the field visits to Mardie Station with attendees briefed by station staff on the positive effects of Mesquite and Parkinsonia treatment. Left to Right: ABC Rural News reporter Eliza Wood; Andrew Smith, Rachel Pearce, and Claire from Mardie Station; Jo Kuiper PMMC; Kay Bailey and Lara Martin DAFWA (Photo credit I Cotton)

One of the field visits to Mardie Station with attendees briefed by station staff on the positive effects of Mesquite and Parkinsonia treatment. Left to Right: ABC Rural News reporter Eliza Wood; Andrew Smith, Rachel Pearce, and Claire from Mardie Station; Jo Kuiper PMMC; Kay Bailey and Lara Martin DAFWA (Photo credit I Cotton)

Held over two days from 21-22 September, the field trip visited Mardie, Peedamulla and Urala Stations.

Rangelands NRM’s Pilbara Corridors Project Manager Ian Cotton said one of the Project’s objectives is to reduce the threat to biodiversity from Weeds of national significance (WoNS).

“A longer term outcome to enhance and preserve endemic vegetation in the Fortescue catchment through the containment and targeted treatment of Opuntioid (cactus), Parkinsonia and Mesquite,” Mr Cotton said.

A cleared area post bulldozer ripping of Mesquite on Mardie Station. It provides improved access for stock to a water point, and an area for endemic grasses and plants to populate without competition from Mesquite. (Photo Credit I Cotton)

A cleared area post bulldozer ripping of Mesquite on Mardie Station. It provides improved access for stock to a water point, and an area for endemic grasses and plants to populate without competition from Mesquite. (Photo Credit I Cotton)

The project contributes to this objective by building relationships between the PMMC, Department of Parks and Wildlife, pastoralists, Aboriginal groups, and mining companies to jointly manage WoNS through on ground works in the Pilbara.

Mr Cotton said the Pilbara Corridors Project provides funding to PMMC to contain and treat Parkinsonia in the upper and lower Fortescue catchment and Mesquite on the lower Fortescue on Mardie Station.

“Project funding on Mardie station was evident in mechanically cleared Mesquite plants and chemical treatment activities on Mesquite and Parkinsonia,” he said.

In addition, Marduthuni rangers have been working on Country to preserve cultural and heritage sites through WoNS treatments.

Andrew Smith and Rachael Pearce from Mardie station said “the work had made it easier to manage stock, improved access to water points and allowed grasses and plants to reoccupy areas that had been dominated by Mesquite.”

The AGM reiterated the important role PMMC plays in managing WoNS in the Pilbara, discussing recent activities and successes, and the path ahead.

The PMMC president Joe Armstrong acknowledged the efforts and dedicated work that Jo Kuiper PMMC Project Manager has carried out over the last 12 months.

The emphasis going forward being on addressing the WoNS problem now where the cost will be significantly lower, than allowing the threat to continue, with significantly greater economic costs and effort required further down the road.