Efforts to rehabilitate Porongurup National Park, north of Albany, after a wildfire burnt through the area in 2007, received a boost today when Environment and Climate Change Minister David Templeman announced $280,000 in funding to control weeds in the park.
The fire burnt through 2,620ha of the national park in addition to 2,500ha of neighbouring private property in February last year.
The fire killed a considerable proportion of weeds in the park, creating an opportunity to control what remains and greatly enhance protection of the park’s biodiversity.
Mr Templeman said it was important to eliminate or significantly reduce populations of destructive weed species as soon as possible, to avoid their re-establishment.
“Autumn and winter rains have produced a mass germination of weeds and these populations are small enough to eradicate, but without decisive action they will rapidly reach the point where control is no longer a viable option,” he said.
“We must act now for the future biodiversity of the national park and it is our responsibility to ensure we give the native vegetation in the park the best possible chance for survival by eliminating destructive weed species.”
Of the 113 weed species recorded in the park, 12 major species will be targeted in a new weed control project by the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC).
A full-time DEC weed co-ordinator will manage weed control activities in the park, working with the equivalent of six staff deployed in the park for 22 weeks under DEC’s Remote Regions Nature Conservation program.
Works will mainly involve on-ground spraying over a 12-month period.
The project builds on weed control already carried out in the park by DEC this year, and work being done by South Coast Natural Resource Management Inc and the Oyster Harbour Catchment Group in weed mapping and control on neighbouring private property.
Friends of the Porongurup Range, the Albany Bushcare Group, the Plantagenet Shire and the City of Albany have also contributed to weed control work.
Albany MLA Peter Watson said the hard work and co-operation of community groups had helped make the project such a success.
“This is a terrific example of the excellent environmental outcomes that can be achieved when Government and community work together,” Mr Watson said.
In addition, Mr Templeman announced new recurrent funding of $684,000 to employ extra DEC conservation workers, who also undertook fire management duties in the south coast region as part of a sustained effort to maintain a high level of fire management resources.
“This will boost the region’s fire preparedness and fire suppression capacity, and we expect these new positions to be filled before the next fire season commences,” he said.
Minister's office - 9220 5050