Home » Fraser Island Defenders Organisation » Update on FIDO’s Weed Eradication Program – Happy Valley

Update on FIDO’s Weed Eradication Program – Happy Valley

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Between 9 and 15 June, 2019, FIDO’s Bush Regeneration Program again targeted Happy Valley.  Coming from all over Southern Queensland, the group’s volunteers split into two teams and put in over 140 hours of hard work over the week.   

Team 1, consisting of Chris Breitenbach, Larry Holenhaus and Sanja Shooter worked in difficult terrain, requiring a high level of fitness.  Team 2, consisting of Peter Shooter, Barry Smith, Zela Bissett and Sophie Munns also worked in some difficult terrain, but generally not as gruelling as Team 1’s.

Team 1 did extensive eradication of Easter Cassia (Senna pendula var. glabrata) towards the North East of the Happy Valley Unallocated State Land (USL).

The method involved hand pulling for the vast majority of plants. Where larger plants could not be pulled, they were cut low with bush saws or long handled cutters and the butt coated with 100% Roundup (glyphosate). In the main this was applied with a wick wand rather than by a hand held spray applicator, as we have used previously.

They also worked on areas of Abrus (Abrus precatorius var. africanus) that had been found in the North East region of the USL during the May trip. Seeds were collected, climbers pulled down out of the canopy, small seedlings hand pulled and the larger plants that could not be pulled were foliage sprayed with 1.5% Roundup.

Occurrences of Abrus communities and mature individual plants were both GPS recorded and tagged with fluro pink flagging tape for follow up on future trips.

This team undertook extensive exploration of outlying areas of USL looking mainly for outliers of Abrus. While most exploration was done on foot, this was greatly assisted by an agreement by DNRME, who have responsibility for USL, to give us access to their internal chained off service roads. This greatly assists our ability to thoroughly explore the 250ha of USL surrounding Happy Valley.

Outbreaks of Abrus were discovered towards the Western extremities of the USL. Climbing plants were pulled from the canopy, seeds were collected and communities and individuals GPS recorded and marked with fluoro flagging taped. They will be eliminated next trip.

In time we aim to survey the entire USL to detect and eliminate Abrus, to prevent it encroaching into the National Park.

As Team 1 explored the USL looking for Abrus outliers, they also hand pulled or ‘cut and pasted’ Easter Cassia they came across.  Team 1 did an extraordinary amount of very productive work in very difficult conditions.

Team 2 searched all the areas we have responsibility for inside the dingo fence looking for emergent Abrus seedlings. In the main these were hand pulled. Because there was good rain immediately before this trip, some larger plants could be hand pulled, with care being taken not to break the stems off at the crown. Broken off plants regrow from the remnant roots. Slightly larger plants that would not hand pull were spot sprayed with 1.5% roundup from small held spray bottles. No seed- bearing plants were located in these areas.

Aggregation of GPS records of Abrus locations shown by yellow crosses. This allows FIDO to revisit these sites to check for any regeneration. Pink tracking lines shows GPS movement during this trip

This mopping up process was extended to outside the dingo fence either side of the Western Happy Valley (Yidney Scrub) Road; West of the dingo fence between the Happy Valley Road grid and the grid on Yidney Rocks Bypass Road, and beyond the Yidney Rocks Bypass Road on either side of the road.

Team 2 also eradicated a few remaining small Cassia and emergent seedlings in all these regions as well as basket asparagus (Asparagus aethiopicus var. sprengeri). These were dug out and hung in trees to die.  A number of other weeds including Mickey Mouse plant (Ochna serrulata), Brazilian nightshade (Solanum seaforthianum) and Mossman burr (Cenchrus echinatus) were eradicated from these areas.

Team 2 cleared a large area of Cassia West of Yidney Rocks Bypass Road in an area not previously visited. A considerable amount remains to be eradicated. Some Abrus was detected here, and foliage sprayed.

Team 2 revisited a valley on the Eastern side of Yidney Rocks Bypass Road that had been totally infested with Lantana, Cassia and Abrus. It had been largely cleared on previous trips. The weed infestation in this valley had been so thick, we took the decision on earlier trips to leave some lantana to provide habitat for native wildlife and prevent erosion. This will be taken out as regrowth occurs. Young Cassia and Abrus seedlings were removed. Very encouraging regeneration of several native species is occurring at this site.

After consultation with the immediate neighbours, a large clump of broad leafed pepper-trees (Schinus terebinthifolius) was removed in the May trip at the end of Owen Street. This left a denuded area subject to erosion. After consultation with the immediate neighbour the area was replanted with 15 local shrubs and ground cover tube stock grown at the FIDO run nursery at Eurong, and three Young Pandanus.  A number of cuttings of Coastal Pigface (Carpobrotus glaucescens) were also planted.  FIDO also removed a large stand of mother-in-law Tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata) from this area.

This trip FIDO collected a plastic shopping bag of seed pods for the week. (Slightly less than 2kg). This almost all came from new discoveries well away from the village. On earlier trips, up to 9 large black bin liner bags was collected per trip. This indicates we are winning the battle to control this invasive weed.

Article contributed by Peter Shooter, FIDO

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