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ACT Weeds Forum, March 2012

Update (25 Sep 2012): Report of the Forum [ pdf 1.8 MB]

On Friday March 9 Pax represented fotpin at a Weeds Forum organized by the ACT Natural Resource Management Council. Fotpin was approached by Council to give a presentation on our weed control program. Download a copy of the presentation here [ pdf 1.05 MB]

Fotpin members John Fitz Gerald and Rosemary Blemings were also amongst the more than 60 people in attendance. Several other parkcare coordinators attended (including Sarah Hnatiuk from Friends of Mt Painter). We heard from a range of speakers (see Program [ pdf 151 kB] for details), and for me (Pax) some of the observations that most resonated included:

  • Sarah Ryan (Chair, Natural Resource Management Council) : the need for a paradigm shift in how we approached weed control, including governance (i.e. how we work together in a reliable, coordinated way, including at a landscape scale);

  • Paul Downey (Faculty of Applied Science University of Canberra) : after vegetation clearance and habitat fragmentation, weed infestations were the next major threat to biodiversity, that with increasing carbon dioxide levels African lovegrass appears to be more resistant to herbicides, and that we need to avoid the untested assumption that any level of weed control at any site will have biodiversity benefits (i.e. what density of any weed species do we try to achieve for biodiversity conservation/enhancement purposes? This is not known for most species.) ;

  • Ken Hodgkinson (CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences) : the opportunities there may be for using fire to control exotic groundlayer species and triggering the germination of native herbs - some very promising outcomes from a small trial; and

  • Steve Taylor (Senior Weed Management Officer, ACT Parks and Conservation Service) : pointed to increasing reliance on late winter spraying of exotic grasses, that parkcarers now have greater access to herbicides (Agritone and Brushoff), development of detailed weed mapping for our parks and greater assessment of the feasibility of effective control (something fotpin factored into our Weed Plan, and that is used in NSW).

Sarah did an excellent job chairing and facilitating the forum. John Fitz Gerald and I discussed with Jane Cardner (Manager, Place Management, Parks and City Services Division, Territory and Municipal Services) the possibility of working with a City Services officer to spray African lovegrass on the boundary of the Pinnacle Nature Reserve, subject to sorting out any OH&S issues, and we discussed with Steve Taylor some possible future spraying equipment that might be available to us, and a new herbicide, subject to further testing. I believe our partnership with Parks around weed control is on a good path! I also learnt that conservation volunteers in NSW, unlike us, only have glyphosate available to them!



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