Success Stories

The PHBG are always happy to share local stories, industry news or details what we have been up to in our patch.

We are always on the look for good news stories about people taking care of their patch, or helping others get on top of their weeds or feral animals.

We know many of you quietly get on with the job, but letting others know about your work can help motivate others that might not know where to start. Tips for overcoming common challenges are invaluable, especially for landholders new to the area.

Please contact the PHBG if you are aware of any local success stories. Email media@phbg.org or phone 0474 242 223.

Weed Wiper provides landholders with assistance to control Cape Tulip

In 2020 the PHBG purchased new weed wiper equipment to loan free of charge to landholders within the PHBG operational area.


The weed wipers are effective tools in the control of declared weeds such as Cape tulip allowing landholders to reduce their herbicide use by applying herbicide directly to the weed.


Cape Tulip is one of seven priority declared weed species for the PHBG. Cape tulip is a serious agricultural weed containing toxic chemicals that are poisonous to stock, germinating in winter and producing pink orange flowers in spring.


The weed wipers and other PHBG equipment are funded through the Declared Pest Account administered by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.

The weed wiper program started for the first time in August this year with PHBG Officers delivering the equipment to landholders for a seven day loan period. Landholders can see the equipment availability and book online on the PHBG website. Presently the PHBG offers two different sizes: the large weed wiper with wings extending the treatment area to 4.8 meters; and the small weed wiper with a treatment area of 2.4m. The larger wipers are also equipped with foam marker applicators to indicate where treatment has been undertaken to avoid overlap.


‘So far this year we have loaned out our new weed wipers over 13 times. They have traveled across PHBG’s operational area and been utlised by landholders across all five of our local government areas. Feedback so far has been very positive and we've been able to further improve the program with input from the landholders involved,’ said PHBG Outreach Officer, Jordon Garbellini-Adams.


Landholders provide feedback as part of the program both initially and again six weeks later enabling the PHBG to monitor the effectiveness of the equipment in supporting landholder efforts. So far all landholders that used the free equipment to control Cape tulip would recommend the program to other landholders.


‘For effective control, landholders will need to control Cape tulip over consecutive years to be able to eradicate it from their property,’ Ms Garbellini-Adams says,


Cape tulip seeds and corms are long-lived and spread through water runoff, infected soil or hay. Up to 60% of viable seed can be dormant at any one time in the soil so even an effective control effort may have no impact on the germination rate the preceding year. This is where we knew the wipers can be really effective by reducing the strain of ongoing Cape tulip control, making it easier for our landholders to remove the weed long term.'


If you have Cape tulip or other declared weeds on your property get in touch with the PHBG at weeds@PHBG.org to see where your efforts can be supported. Alternatively, report declared weeds through the weed hotspot form for follow up.

Changing of the guard for PHBG at recent AGM

A new chairperson was voted in at the recent Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group (AGM) held at the Pinjarra Football Club on June 30th.


The PHBG annual general meeting was the final event in the 2021 PHBG Roadshow that showcased equipment and provided an opportunity for landholders to sign up to programs and events.


The roadshow was the result of an eagerness by PHBG Officers to showcase new equipment and programs developed to support landholders in their declared pest control efforts.


The planned start to the roadshow was the Serpentine Jarrahdale Food and Farm Feast which was postponed to November due to COVID. It continued to Brunswick with a carpark equipment showcase, travelling through Lake Clifton, Waroona and Pinjarra. Activities included pest control demonstration, community events and a PHBG Office open day.


The equipment showcase, held before the AGM, was impacted by the heavy rain but a dedicated group of PHBG committee, community members, DPIRD staff, landholders and local government representatives attended.


The AGM included speeches by the then chairperson Vaughn Byrd and Executive Officer Dr Jonelle Cleland on the challenges of the 2020 year and how the PHBG overcame the associated obstacles. All position holders stepped down with all executive positions filled. Questions on notice provided before and on the night were responded to.


Vaughn Byrd stepped down from the chairperson role but stayed on as a committee member and the PHBG welcomed new chairperson Brian Doy to the team. Brian thanked Vaughan for his dedicated service as chairperson and said he hoped he can add value to the organisation as its new chairperson.


The PHBG has transitioned to a recognised biosecurity group which receives funding from the Declared Pest Account administered by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development. The organisation has recorded a second solid year of delivering events, resources and programs in spite of impacts due to COVID-19.


The PHBG delivered its 2020 Annual Report which is available for landholders to view and download on the PHBG website www.PHBG.org.


The annual report highlighted outcomes such as:

  • Doubling the number of landholders on the PHBG newsletter list

  • Recording over five thousand visits to the PHBG website

  • Well attended workshops on weed identification and feral animal control

  • Protecting 1,211 acres of local land from feral animals through the provision of restricted chemical permits

  • Receiving 136 weed reports from the community which initiates a letter being sent to the landholders to; highlight the presence and size of the infestation; explain legal responsibilities to control; and offer ways to go about control.

  • Providing 36 pieces of equipment to landholders free of charge during 2020.


There is a high level of pride delivering the Annual Report at the AGM as captured by Jonelle Cleland, EO of the PHBG.

"As you read through the pages of operational highlights, I am guessing you will be blown away by what the PHBG is achieving. It is testament of what a not-for-profit can do with the modest backing of government and its own people. Momentum is growing with more and more people coming on board, not only to get their $30 worth, but to be part of a team effort to get on top of the pest problem in the Peel Harvey. The problem was here before the PHBG came into existence, but its volunteers and staff are doing everything in their power to turn the situation around. Sure, it can be hard going at times, but the PHBG is up for the challenge and asks that you join us too," Jonelle said.

Landholders are encouraged to contact the PHBG with their declared pest enquiries. To keep up to date on upcoming events, programs and industry news landholders can follow the PHBG facebook page, subscribe to the PHBG newsletter or check out the website.

Removing shelter, not Calicivirus, most effective for long term rabbit control

Machinery was brought in to aid landholders in the fight against rabbits at the recently held Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group (PHBG) rabbit harbourage destruction demonstration in Lake Clifton.


The demonstration was held after the Peel Harvey Catchment Council’s popular Lake Clifton-Herron Seedling Giveaway events on June 13 on the community hall grounds.


The Lake Clifton -Herron community has always been very engaged with rabbit control in the past, with landholders participating in the PHBG’s annual release of the rabbit calicivirus.

‘Biocontrols can be very effective in declared pest management. But, if landholders want results from the calicivirus release to be long term there are important follow up activities that need to take place’, said PHBG Officer, Teele Hooper-Worrell,


While the PHBG have always maintained the rabbit calicivirus is not the silver bullet for rabbit control, landholders have not capitilised on results in response to the coordinated release. If surviving rabbits are not controlled, resistant antibodies can build up in the local population. Recently the PHBG collected blood samples from rabbits in the Lake Clifton-Herron area which indicate resistance to the virus.’


Long term reduction in rabbit numbers can be achieved by incorporating multiple complementary methods which include baiting, shooting, biocontrols and harborage reduction. Safe harborage for rabbits can be warrens, vegetation, log piles, or unused machinery. Removing shelter for rabbits prevents them from breeding and leaves them open to predation or sickness.

To encourage the community to incorporate additional control methods the PHBG have launched a project that is looking into three common scenarios that landholders could face when dealing with a rabbit warren on their property. The Rabbit Harborage Destruction project has three sites where rabbit activity is recorded before and after different techniques are used to remove the shelter.

The recent demonstration was held at project site one ,which had a weedy shrub sheltering a warren. The shrub was removed and the warren smoked twice to flush out any remaining rabbits. The warren was then ripped by a local contractor in two directions perpendicular to each other over an area two meters out from the identified entrances, as recommended by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.

‘It was an interesting and informative demonstration on dealing with rabbits and destroying their warrens in a safe and environmentally friendly way,’ said Neville Garvey an attendee at the demonstration.

Landholders were interested to see how quickly the PHBG warren smoker was able to identify warren entrances and see how monitoring cameras were used to assess rabbit numbers before and after the ripping took place. Monitoring cameras, along with the warren smoker, are free to loan to landholders within the PHBG‘s operational area.

At the second project site the PHBG will trial a new method of harborage destruction using a water spear to collapse a warren before backfilling with earth to stabilise and compact the site. This method could help solve the issue of warrens underneath native vegetation that is unable to be removed. The third trial site involved removing a large weedy shrub sheltering a rabbit warren to determine if rabbit activity was reduced due to exposure to natural predators.

The PHBG are able to provide equipment and host demonstrations like this thanks to funding through the Declared Pest Rate . Information on rabbit control activities, PHBG equipment for loan and registrations for the 2021 Rabbit Calicivirus program is available on the PHBG’s website www.PHBG.org or email feralanimals@PHBG.org.

Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group gets ready to launch on Pesky Pests

Learning about declared pests in schools just got easier through the new Peel Harvey Pesky Pests curriculum developed by the Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group(PHBG).


Educating children on the impacts and management of pests is a top priority by the Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group (PHBG). Local educators have been contacted to take part in the newly developed education package, which uses pests as the context for learning about a range of different science concepts in the classroom.


The PHBG are launching the curriculum ‘Peel Harvey Pesky Pests’ at 4 pm on Monday 26th July at the Harvey Primary School. The launch event will provide teachers and interested community members the opportunity to see what the free education package includes, with

local children’s book illustrator Kylie Howarth as guest speaker.


Kylie illustrated the iconic bandicoot that has become the mascot of the Pesky Pests curriculum. “Professor Bandi” as he is known is terrified of foxes but is a wealth of knowledge on pests. Kylie will attend the launch to discuss her formative years in Harvey, her interest in local wildlife and how it has inspired her illustrations and books.


The Peel Harvey Pesky Pests education package includes lesson plans and learning activities. Unlike other packages, it also includes free access to Biosecurity Resource Boxes. These boxes contain a range of books, samples, equipment and even an iPad with an isoscope, which will allow teachers and students to look at weed samples in detail. The Biosecurity Resource Boxes can be loaned from the PHBG to complement classroom activities.


Hannah Lalor, an experienced science teacher, and education officer at the PHBG discussed how important these hands-on resources are to student engagement and successful learning outcomes.


‘They allow the content to be delivered in a practical and hands-on way. The Resource boxes include scat boards that show a range of different poo samples from pest, pet and native animals, which can be easily compared. There’s also resin blocks containing cotton bush seed pods allowing students to see the mechanisms behind how the seeds spread so easily,’ said Mrs Lalor.


The concept of the education package started back in 2017, when the PHBG engaged with local teachers to evaluate what biosecurity resources were available to teachers. Nicole Entz found that there were great resources; however, there was no cohesive framework or relevance directly to the established pests in the Peel Harvey region. This was followed by a successful application to the State NRM Program to develop a biosecurity curriculum and resources for students in the Peel Harvey region.

Retired teachers, Robyn and Chris Brown, wrote the first draft of the curriculum and gathered current resources that have been included in the package. Hannah Lalor has pulled it all together into a package easily accessible by teachers and available for download on the Peel Harvey Pesky Pests website www.schools.phbg.org.


Hannah shared that she really enjoyed working on this project and her main objective was to make sure it was easy for teachers to embed into their classrooms.


Dr Jonelle Cleland, Executive officer of the PHBG, was delighted with the end product.


‘We had a vision back in 2017 to put a school package together. We wanted kids to have both a structured and fun way of learning about pests in their surroundings. We were fortunate to have local educators jump on board early in the piece to make sure we fulfilled what teachers actually need in the classroom. Teachers are expected to cover so much content these days. We didn't want just another add on. Our package is an engaging set of resources that can give teachers the peace of mind that they are teaching to the curriculum with locally relevant content,’ said Dr Cleland.


The Peel Harvey Pesky Pests launch on the 26th July at Harvey Primary School is open to all interested members of the community, including parents, teachers and other interested organisations. Please register your attendance by following the booking link on www.schools.phbg.org

For more information about the Peel Harvey Pesky Pest education package, email schools@PHBG.org.

Signs on popular tourist walk educate on cotton bush control

The Serpentine National Park has benefitted from on-ground control activities and interpretive signage through the successful delivery of a project by the Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group (PHBG).


The project delivered 4.5 days of cotton bush removal by the Ecojobs team and saw the installation of two interpretive signs along popular walking tracks within the Serpentine National Park.


The Federal Government’s Community Environment Program was developed to assist with small-scale, community-led environmental projects. The program funded over 22 million dollars worth of activities, with the finished date extended to 2021 to account for impacts from Covid-19.


Project applicants were invited to submit an application by their local Member of Parliament. The PHBG met with Andrew Hastie at the 2019 Food and Farm Fest to discuss project ideas and the Serpentine National Park was high on the agenda.


‘The SNP was the perfect choice for this grant opportunity because of the high social value of the site as well as the historical cotton bush infestations that were present,’ said weed education officer for the PHBG, Teele Hooper-Worrell.


‘The PHBG had received a high number of cotton bush reports from the community in and around the Serpentine National Park. Cotton bush is a declared weed that is highly invasive and it was impacting on the amenity of the popular tourist attraction as well as the possible threat of seed spread to surrounding agricultural properties.’


Federal Member for Canning, The Hon Andrew Hastie MP, recently visited the project site and congratulated the team on their hard work.

‘Cotton bush is a terrible weed that harms our region’s beautiful natural environment, as well as our agricultural productivity. The PHBG team are doing an excellent job combating cotton bush in Serpentine National Park and educating the community on effective control techniques. I commend the team for their efforts, and I’m pleased the Morrison Government has been able to support this important work.’


While on-ground works delivered immediate results, the inclusion of interpretive signage at the park aimed to increase the level of education around cotton bush control. Placed at prominent sites along popular walk trails the signs outline the impacts of cotton bush, an invasive declared weed. They also share the important message that for effective results the control methods for cotton bush changes as the plant matures.

Ms Hooper-Worrell explained that landholders could be forgiven for thinking that one size fits all for control of cotton bush, but actually, effective control techniques change as the plant gets older.


‘When cotton bush are small and soft they can be removed and left to degrade on the surface of the soil or slashed. As the plants mature and the stems become hard, slashing would only encourage them to reshoot. When the plants are older they need to be physically removed or treated with herbicide with any pods on the plant also needing to be removed and bagged to prevent further seed spread,’ She said.


Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions' Parks and Wildlife Service, provided access and support to the work being done within the park as well as installed the signs.


With Narrow leaf Cotton bush a declared pest weed in Western Australia, the control of this species in Serpentine National Park has been included in the Weed Action Plan for the Park and actively managed for the past several years,’ Senior Ranger, Paul Tholen said.


‘The persistence of this weed seems to be due to the difficulty in removing the mature plants from hard to get to places and the seed from these plants then reinvade areas previously treated.


‘This is why volunteers are so valuable in contributing to the control of this invasive species. Volunteers are able to selectively remove mature plants from the edge of waterways, along sloping sections of walk trails and deep into thick bushland to remove the mature plants and stop the spread of windblown seed. Without volunteers, weeds such as cotton bush will continue to flourish, which is why the Department is supportive of this volunteer based initiative, brought together so diligently by the Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group.


Work delivered as part of the Communities Environment Grant has helped the PHBG and DPaW to further strengthen their partnership. This has led to the development of ongoing works to extend cotton bush control with further funding opportunities.

Harvey weed workshops

The Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group (PHBG) held their popular Weed ID and Advice Workshops in Harvey earlier this year.


Over 50 landholders registered for the events held across two days with the high registration numbers indicating a large amount of interest in weed control across the Harvey area. Attendees brought in weed samples from the surrounding area for experts Greg Keighery and Andrew Mitchell to discuss.


‘Our weed experts bring decades of field experience in both bushland and pasture weed control. Landholders find it helpful to be able to bring in physical specimens for the experts to identify and discuss, says Teele Hooper-Worrell, weed education officer at the Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group.


‘Very often our attendees recognise the samples bought in by others and each workshop becomes an interactive discussion about the local weed issues and how to control weeds and prevent their spread.’


Samples were predominantly summer weeds due to the timing of the events and included wireweed, melon, thistle varieties and dock. There was a marked difference in the types of weeds that were present compared to previous PHBG weed workshops, held later in the year and featuring winter weeds.


Identification of weeds is the first step to effective control. It allows landholders to understand how the weed may have spread to their property and to find the most effective control methods moving forward. All attendees to the weed workshop took home the Southern Weeds and their Control resource which supports ongoing control and identification.


‘For landholders that are interested in attending a future Weed ID and Advice Workshops the best thing to do is follow the PHBG Facebook page and sign up to our quarterly newsletter. This way they are informed of our upcoming events,’ Ms Hooper-Worrell said.

Feral pigs in the spotlight; national, state and local voices in the mix

With talk about the National Feral Pig Action Plan hitting the headlines, the Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group was keen to raise awareness of local engagement on the plan and how WA has got a head start with its own pig strategy and local efforts.


"Dr Heather Channon, the National Feral Pig Management Coordinator, should be commended on her consultative approach," said Dr Jonelle Cleland of the Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group (PHBG).


"Dr Channon hit the ground running. I was surprised that a newly appointed national coordinator would jump on the phone and seek direct input from community groups. Moreso, the PHBG is located in Western Australia and is a relative newcomer to the feral pig space compared to other longstanding groups.


"I had the opportunity to explain that feral pigs are being reported as an increasing problem, from the hills to the lowlands. Beyond the significant damage to horticultural crops, pastures and natural areas, some members of the public are frustrated, and even frightened, by the criminal element associated with the illegal seeding and harvesting feral pigs. Property damage and threatening behaviour is not uncommon.

"The PHBG also was able to explain to Dr Channon that building local capacity to monitor and control feral pigs using humane and effective methods was a high priority for the group. The PHBG has already hosted two TAFE accredited courses on vertebrate pest management in the region. This has seen Central TAFE come down from Carnarvon to deliver the week long course to community members, field officers and private contractors active in the region," she said.


Recently, the PHBG purchased an innovative trapping system developed by a local WA couple. Following the five step mantra of pre-feeding, pre-feeding, pre-feeding, pre-feeding and patience it assisted two landholders working along their shared property boundary to trap a mob of pigs that were damaging the creekline and surrounds.


"You just need a couple of wins like this to hopefully bring others on board in an area. Indeed, State and national governments have a role in bringing good news stories together and packaging them for general consumption. This will help to increase wider support for community groups that are putting in the hard yards and adopting best management practices," Dr Cleland said.

Dr Cleland was also quick to point out the strong drive of Dr Peter Adams, from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, to see the adoption of the WA Feral Pig Strategy and the bringing together of key stakeholders as members of an inaugural steering group.


The Department facilitated the initial meeting of the steering group. However, the Department is not going to perform this function in an ongoing capacity - it wants the steering group to be a self-driven collective of private, commercial and community interests that advocate for change.


"The PHBG certainly recognises the power of bottom up advocacy. At the same time, it also does not want the State Government to step out. The State Government is well placed to fund an independent facilitator to make sure these sorts of groups function well. It takes skill to bring a diverse set of stakeholders together to develop a shared vision and to keep things moving at a good pace.


"Critically, the State Government needs to be sitting at the table as the manager of vast tracts of land in this State.


"There is also an ongoing need for government backed research, development and extension on monitoring and control options for all our costly invasive species, including feral pigs. Industry and community are keen to assist with applied research but they cannot be expected to run robust trials without funding," Dr Cleland said.

In response to community reports of the declared weed bridal creeper the City of Mandurah partnered up with the Peel Harvey and Leschenault Biosecurity Group's to host a workshop on effective control methods.

The Shire of Harvey has responded to a community call for action by controlling arum lily in James Rodgers Reserve in Leschenault. The Reserve holds significance in the history of European settlement of the region.

The Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group (PHBG) have chosen Harvey for their popular Weed ID and Advice Workshop, to be held on the 12 th and 13th of March, 2021.

In response to community reports of fox activity in the area surrounding Marlee Reserve, the Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group coordinated the placement of 13 fox traps on private property.

A collaboration between the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) and the Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group (PHBG) led to five days of cotton bush removal in the Serpentine National Park.

So popular was the Weed ID and Advice Workshop, two sessions were run instead of just the one that had been originally planned.

Weed heads up - Summertime

During summer the Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group (PHBG) is asking landholders to keep an eye out for cotton bush and apple of Sodom.


rabbit control Registrations double

The 2019 calicivirus release was the largest yet with the Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group (PHBG) delivering the control agent to over 100 sites across five local government authorities.

2019 AGM

The Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group (PHBG) hosted their annual general meeting at the Coolup Community Hall on Wednesday the 27th of February, 2019.



FeralScan Workshop

The ability for land managers to respond to feral animal impacts got a boost recently as a series of workshops across WA demonstrated the use of the free FeralScan resource.

weeds welcome spring

Spring heralds warmer days, lush green grass and flowers. Many declared weeds are at their most colourful in spring.

Landholder holding up a picture of the site before cotton bush removal

Hard work and persistence key to cotton bush win

A Meelon property once covered in cotton bush is now cleared and productive thanks to long term planning and hard work.

Trailer full of cotton bush

Heads up results in cotton bush control

“It was very frustrating trying to control cotton bush that was re-infesting my property from an established problem over a fence. I was so relieved when my friendly heads up led to a massive effort by the new landowner to control and remove the cotton bush on his property”

Rabbit trying to eat a seedling through a wire guard

Partnerships lead to decrease in rabbit numbers

In late 2018 the PHBG released the RHDV1 K5 strain of the rabbit calicivirus at over 50 sites.