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Myrtle Rust Update

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In August, the Butchulla Land and Sea Rangers (BLSR), Queensland Indigenous Land and Sea Rangers (ILSR), Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) and Department of Environment and Science (DES) participated in a myrtle rust field trip on K’gari.

Surveys were completed at the southern end of K’gari, around Dilli Village, Hook Point and Jabiru Swamp (where the wildfire came through late last year).

During the surveys, significant amounts of myrtle rust were found in these areas, mostly on the paperbark (Melaleuca quinquenervia) trees. As a result, the BLSR have established five monitoring sites, flagging and assessing 50 trees at each site. Approximately 75% of the trees surveyed showed signs of myrtle rust.

As part of their work to care for country (and to meet their goal for a healthy country), the BLSR will continue monitoring these sites to assess any further impacts or changes and work in partnership with DAF to reduce the spread of the infection on country. The next planned site visit will be November 2020.

Following the field trip, the BLSR in partnership with DAF’s Dr Geoff Pegg and Dr Louise Shuey facilitated a 2-day Biosecurity 101 workshop (with a specific focus on myrtle rust) in Hervey Bay. The workshop was supported by a Fraser Coast Council Community Environment Grant.

Participants included Butchulla community members and elders, neighbouring traditional owner groups, Fraser Coast Regional Council, FINIA, Noosa Landcare and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.

The BLSR hope that the training will increase awareness and capacity to detect biosecurity threats. This will increase the number of people watching for pests and increase the effectiveness of reporting biosecurity activity; preventing further impacts or damage to country.

Article contributed by the Butchulla Land and Sea Rangers

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