Townsville Bulletin

Community joins forces to target feral pigs and weed infestatio­ns


A CREEKLINE infestatio­n of rubber vine and Chinee apple harbouring destructiv­e feral pigs will be the target of a multi-pronged assault on three grazing properties near Charters Towers in coming months.

NQ Dry Tropics senior grazing field officer Chris Poole said the sheer scale of the problem put any solution out of reach for most graziers.

“This is far too big for a husband and wife grazing operation to take on,” he said.

“Even if they could afford it, there would be no return on that investment.”

Mr Poole said getting the three properties who shared frontage along Maryvale Creek to band together to develop a common plan of attack, would enable them to break the problem down into something a lot more achievable.

The Linking Landholder­s to Frontage Country project, delivered by NQ Dry Tropics and funded through the Queensland Natural Resource Investment Program, will help three properties clear the creek of rubber vine and prevent the problem spreading any further, while keeping native plant species intact.

Mr Poole said NQ Dry Tropics hired DC Solutions, an environmen­tal consultanc­y based in Longreach, to implement the plan.

Mr Poole said they would remove the pest animals, and follow up with a herbicide treatment before the wet season.

Then, once new understore­y growth had dried off, a fire treatment would take place, using a method pioneered by DC Solutions.

That would establish access to the area allowing follow-up spot spraying to ensure all of the weeds were removed.

He said the focus of activity would be on Maryvale Station at the head of Maryvale Creek to ensure the problem did not escalate downstream, but would encompass Niall and Mt Fullstop stations as well.

Maryvale Station grazier Alex Harrington said his family bought the property in 2016 and immediatel­y began implementi­ng an extensive weed eradicatio­n program.

“I have started on the higher ground where the density of the Chinee apple and rubber vine is not as great,” he said.

“Our thinking was that the really thick areas were already inaccessib­le and couldn’t really get any worse, but we needed to protect the productive areas of the property first.

“It also meant we wouldn’t be getting seed flowing downhill onto treated areas if we started up high.”

He said the modest funding, coupled with support from NQ Dry Tropics and the other properties on Maryvale Creek, would accelerate and extend their program.

“Because of that, we can actually think about regaining that lost country — probably a couple of thousand acres of otherwise unproducti­ve ground,” Mr Harrington said.

“It will give native vegetation a chance to re-establish in the area and that will attract native fauna as well.

“But it will also benefit cattle production.”

 ??  ?? Rubber vine and Chinese apple have taken over the banks of Maryvale Creek.
Rubber vine and Chinese apple have taken over the banks of Maryvale Creek.

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