Following a very successful Easter Cassia Blitz at Happy Valley at the end of April where a very significant amount of Lantana was also removed, FIDO volunteers at Eurong in July turned their attention to attacking Lantana. While very few lantana plants inside the dingo fence have managed to escape the vigilant attention of the various teams over the years, beyond the dingo fence – particularly surrounding former rubbish dumps – it is a different story.
Inspired by the Happy Valley effort, Eurong volunteers have begun what is planned to be an ongoing assault on two major Lantana infestations one north and one south of Eurong’s urban centre.
The larger lantana patch about 800 metres south of the village had operated as a shameful illegal dump that spilt over on to the beach prior to 1985 when the new Fraser Island Recreation Board that introduced a whole new management regime for waste disposal on K’gari.
However, although the bulk of the rubbish was removed, one of the legacies was the broken glass and smaller fragments that were missed. Another legacy was the seedbed of weeds, especially lantana, that have since taken off on the nutrient-enriched soil. It has formed impenetrable thickets in many places.
Although the spread of the dump area immediately north of the Eurong dingo fence wasn’t as extensive, the legacy of Lantana (and one very productive orange tree) in the south, it was similar. It was into both areas that FIDO volunteers, armed with loppers and herbicide bottles, began their forays to make some inroads into these pesky pest plants. It is planned that over time on successive working bees to progressively cut these thickets back further and further making them more manageable. In the process, volunteers have exposed other weeds that also need to be urgently dealt with to prevent them from spreading further afield.
Removing lantana is a task that should not be forever deferred because FIDO has noted that once lantana has been cleared from an area, biological agents are effectively preventing reinfestation.
Article submitted by John Sinclair, Fraser Island Defenders Organisation