Fund­ing for weed prob­lem

Pilbara News - - News - Tom Zaun­mayr

More than $5 mil­lion has been com­mit­ted by the State Govern­ment to tackle an in­va­sive weed suf­fo­cat­ing na­tive plants across the Pil­bara.

The stink­ing pas­sion­flower, or pas­sion vine, is an Amer­i­can creep­ing vine with an ed­i­ble passionfruit-style fruit, which can be found cov­er­ing na­tive scrub and trees.

Although the fruit is ed­i­ble, the leaves con­tain cyanic acid and are poi­sonous to hu­mans and live­stock. It is highly vis­i­ble around pop­u­lar water­courses, such as Mia­ree Pool and in Mill­stream-Chich­ester Na­tional Park.

En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Al­bert Ja­cob said the $5.5 mil­lion al­lo­ca­tion would tackle the sig­nif­i­cant con­ser­va­tion risk posed by the stink­ing pas­sion­flower.

“In­va­sive alien weeds are one of the great­est threats to our na­tive plants and an­i­mals, and the main fo­cus of the new pro­gram is to de­velop longterm man­age­ment op­tions to re­duce the im­pact of this vine,” he said.

“Stink­ing pas­sion­flower has a smoth­er­ing ef­fect on na­tive plants and an­i­mals.

“It is poi­sonous to hu­mans and live­stock, and cre­ates prob­lems for mine site re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion, agri­cul­ture, tourism and cul­tur­ally sig­nif­i­cant ar­eas.”

Depart­ment of Parks and Wildlife and CSIRO sci­en­tists will re­search the con­di­tions in which the stink­ing pas­sion­flower thrives in its na­tive lands to de­velop ways to bet­ter con­trol the weed in WA.

Mr Ja­cob said the eight-year project would have a bud­get of $8.6 mil­lion, with $3.1 mil­lion pro­vided through in-kind sup­port from Parks and Wildlife and CSIRO.

This fund­ing com­ple­ments four Gor­gon net con­ser­va­tion ben­e­fits projects, in­clud­ing the Dirk Har­tog Is­land Eco­log­i­cal Restora­tion project.

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