FIDO held six weeding weeks on Fraser Island in 2015, three working on Eurong bush regeneration and three in Happy Valley with a heavy focus on controlling the Abrus infestation there. This year FIDO is making some transitional changes to its weeding and bush regeneration programs as some of the older players, including John Sinclair and Su Dawson, withdraw to a less active role and pass the leadership on to others.
They led a week working in Eurong from 15th to 21st February 2015, when they encountered some impacts from Cyclone Marcia. This was an inconvenience and cause the work to stop earlier than planned but they still managed to contribute 229 hours working on the ground in Eurong. Cyclone Marcia enabled some closer visual monitoring of actual sediment movement along the roads and capturing some useful images for the monitoring program that is discussed elsewhere.
FIDO continues to deal with very significant area of Coral Creeper infestations, some so extensive that they required spraying. Lesser infestations were cleared manually wherever sighted augmenting the chemical treatment areas.
Many other weeds were also dealt with in the course of the week including Brazilian cherries (over 100 in Second Valley area), Brazilian nightshade, Singapore daisies, Easter cassia, Green panic grass, Mossman River grass, Siratro, Syngonium, Madiera Vine, 2 Umbrella Trees, Corky Passion vine, Mile-a-minute, and Mother of Millions.
The weed situation at Eurong though continues to improve as more and more weeds are eliminated. While FIDO believes that it is getting on top of the problem there FIDO certainly believes that there is a need to carry out at least three weeding programs per year to keep in control of the weed problem and to continue to transform the village to give it a more natural look befitting its World Heritage status.
John and Su will formally lead their last weeding operation to Eurong from 24th to 30th May. After that FIDO’s Eurong weeding operations will be led by Maree Prior who has planned two more trips for 2015 — 25th July to 1st August and 24th October to 1st November. Maree has long experience in many facets of Landcare and Coastcare. Her background adds a new dimension to FIDO’s weeding program that has been going for 23 years but is gaining new momentum with support from BMRG.
The other part of FIDO’s weeding operations is the Abrus Attack in Happy Valley. In 2014 Peter Shooter led three major assaults on this weed scourge and his next trip, already fully booked with volunteers is from 10th to 16th May. He has two other trips planned for the latter part of the year — 16th to 22nd August and 8th to 14th November.
What is encouraging is the response from volunteers. In mid-March FIDO sent out a call for volunteers to its Email network. Within ten days it had filled all available places on all six working bees with several volunteers from previous trips returning. That is testimony to the attraction of both Fraser Island and the working conditions.
John Sinclair, FIDO