Success Stories

Local papers often features stories written and submitted by the PHBG.

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 Teele if you are aware of any local success stories. Email or phone 0474 242 223.

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.

Harvey venue chosen for PHBG 2021

Weed ID and Advice Workshop

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.

‘Our weed experts Greg Keighery and Andrew Mitchell bring decades of field experience in both bushland and pasture weed control. It’s a great opportunity for attendees to bring in weed specimens and pick their brains about local issues’, says Teele Hooper-Worrell, weed education officer at the Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group.

The previous Weed ID and Advice Workshop attracted over 70 participants, who ranged from experienced pest control professionals to new landholders. Together they brought in over 150 samples of local weeds for the experts to discuss. Participants were surveyed and 90% of those who attended said their weed identification skills improved and 100% recommended the workshops to others.

The Friday workshop will run from 12 pm to 4 pm and is aimed at LGA officers, environmental professionals and interested members of the public. It represents an opportunity to get expert advice and support, not only for the declared weeds in your area but any stubborn long-term problems or new incursions.

The Saturday workshop will run from 9 am to 1pm and follows the same format while allowing those who are unavailable on weekdays to attend. This takes landholder feedback on board, to offer more out of work hour options for events. The Harvey RSL Hall also has a fenced in playground to allow parents with children to attend.

‘Having a child friendly venue means that all landholders have the opportunity to participate, plus you're never too young to learn about which plants are weeds and need to be controlled’, says Ms Hooper-Worrell.

Registrations for the March workshops can be emailed to or by calling the PHBG weed education officer on 0474 242 223. Equipment loans can also be arranged via these contact details.

Shire of Harvey delivers action on arum lily

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.

In 2020 the Shire invested $30,000 to control arum lily along a seven kilometer stretch of the Reserve. Oversight of the project was provided by the Shire’s environmental officer, Samantha Pickering, who noted that there were some challenges with the site.

‘The Shire of Harvey responded to community reports of arum lily along a bridal trail in Leschenault between Cathedral Avenue and Australind Road. Due to the size of the reserve and the characteristics of the site we decided to go with a contractor that was able to spray the weeds from a motorbike,’ she said.

The Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group has also been in the area looking at the extent of the arum lily problem. The group recently met with a local landholder to discuss nearby gardens that included arum lily.

Ms Teele Hooper-Worrell explained that the dark green leaves and white flower can make the arum lily a popular garden plant. However, its weediness and detrimental impacts to surrounding landholders and the environment should not be overlooked or diminished in any way.

‘Propagating a declared pest can make your garden stand out for all the wrong reasons’, she said.The PHBG will be reaching out to property owners in the new year to remind them of their legal responsibility to manage the declared weed, and offering support for timely and effective control options at a property level.

The Shire of Harvey welcomes the PHBG initiative. Ms Pickering said that, ‘Having the PHBG run an engagement program in the Leschenault area that focuses on arum lily control will build on the investment the Shire has made in the area’.

The PHBG will also be running their popular Weed ID and Advice Workshops in Harvey in early 2021. These workshops come highly recommended. The 2020 workshop had 70 attendees who brought in over 150 samples to identify and discuss.

Extra information

Arum lily is a toxic plant that takes over prime summer growing land in agricultural areas. It forms a thick understorey in bushland and prevents seedling establishment. An infestation can dramatically change the composition of natural ecosystems, and significantly alter the aesthetics of an area.

Arum lily is also known as the death lily due to its popularity as a funeral bloom - fitting as stock can die from grazing on it and it is also known to cause eczema.

City of Mandurah upskills teams on creeper control

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.

Leschenault Biosecurity Group project officer Julie Chapman shared her experience with collecting and distributing bridal creeper rust in the Leschenault area. The rust is a biological control that landholders can utilise to control the spread of bridal creeper.

Attendees were made up of the City of Mandurah staff in the natural areas bushcrew and city park teams, local NRM professionals and PHBG officers.

‘I didn’t realise how easy it was to collect and redistribute the rust. Now the PHBG has another tool we can provide to our landholders to support them in their control of declared pests,’ said Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group weed education officer Teele Hooper-Worrell.

Weed ID and Advice Workshop proves popular

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

Over 70 people attended across the two sessions, with a total of 150 weed samples brought in to identify and discuss.

The PHBG welcomed back weed experts Greg Keighery, Order of Australia recipient, and Principal Ecologist Andrew Mitchell to host the workshops.

The workshop was informative and interactive with many attendees providing feedback that the workshops increased their knowledge of weed identification and control.

Attendee, Ms Mcarthur wrote after the workshop, ‘Thank you so much for organising it, such knowledgeable presenters - so much to learn!’

Another attendee wrote, ‘Very informative and such a mountain of knowledge. Many thanks to all involved’.

A large number of Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale grounds crew attended and the officers had many questions about the plants they come across in their day to day work.

All attendees received the perfect companion to weed ID and control in the form of the Southern Weeds and their Control booklet. Correct identification of weeds is the first step in effective control. The take home resource provided at the workshop described both physical and chemical control options.

Many common weeds made an appearance on the day with lots of different samples from the oxalis, erodium and sow thistle groups. There were also many unfamiliar samples, like the asparagus sample that was declared and highly invasive, black flags with their tiny corms ready to spread and the growing threat from Euphorbia which is starting to become more common on roadsides but can cause serious allergic reactions. There was even a plant that the experts could identify and it was taken home for further study.

‘The first step in weed control is correct identification - knowing which weed you’re dealing with helps direct control to the most effective method. At our workshop over 80% of attendees said they would be more confident identifying weeds going forward,’ said weed education officer, Teele Hooper-Worrell.

‘The intention of hosting our workshops is to upskill our community in weed identification, leading to more successful weed control. It’s a great feeling seeing how popular and successful the workshop was and the PHBG look forward to hosting more workshops like this one in 2021,’ said Ms Hooper-Worrell.

Landholders who want to be kept up to date with upcoming events are encouraged to follow the PHBG Facebook Page or sign up to the PHBG quarterly e-newsletter by emailing

Communities, Collaboration and Control

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.

The Serpentine National Park is a popular site with locals and attracts national and international tourists to the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale. Cotton bush is a problem weed in the National Park, particularly around the heritage-listed Spencer’s Cottage.

Over the years the PHBG has received multiple reports from the members of the public concerned about the cotton bush in the National Park. DBCA has initiated control works in the past; however, it is an ongoing battle with plants germinating from a large seed bank.

The PHBG had the opportunity to intensify weed control efforts in the Serpentine National Park through the Australian Government’s Community Environment Grant Program which allowed it to engage an Ecojobs team to remove cotton bush.

Senior park ranger, Paul Tholen, expressed that cooperation between the different stakeholders will no doubt lead to improved social and environmental outcomes in the National Park.

“This activity has the potential to make a big difference in cotton bush control in the areas surrounding the recreation and picnic facilities.

“Thanks to everyone involved for such a sterling effort,” Mr Tholen said.

According to Teele Hooper-Worrell, weed education officer for the PHBG, challenges presented by coronavirus were also overcome.

“Staff from DBCA’s Parks and Wildlife Services and Ecojobs were able to maintain social distancing requirements and still remove cotton bush.

“It’s always a great feeling when the biosecurity group can take community reports into collaboration across tenure with the result being cotton bush removal,” said Ms Hooper-Worrell.

Physical removal of the cotton bush plants was done by removing the seed pods and then pulling out the plants using tree poppers provided by the PHBG. The seeds were then placed in plastic bags for solarisation (which destroys the seed) and disposal.

The project’s focus moves now to the installation of interpretive signage to raise awareness of the project’s achievements. The signs will increase public awareness of cotton bush and the importance of its ongoing control in the Park, as well as across the broader landscape.

Parklands community effort protects Marlee Reserve.

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.

The thirteen traps were delivered and set up in time to support a trapping program centred on the Marlee Reserve run by the City of Mandurah.

Marlee Reserve is recognised as one of the most important conservation reserves in Mandurah. The reserve is home to a wide range of species, including the Brush-tailed phascogale, quenda, and the long-necked turtle.

Efforts by community members and the PHBG extended the control area to over 550 hectares across the Parklands area with the program resulting in the removal of two lactating foxes and three feral cats.

The fox traps were delivered prior to the trapping program commenced to allow them to settle into the environment. Private landholders wired the traps open and used lures to increase the likelihood of success.

“Foxes can be trap-shy,” said Anneliese Bone, feral animal officer, for the PHBG.

“We have heard of a landholder trapping a fox within an hour of setting up a cage trap but generally the fox will check the cage a few times before entering.

“To entice the fox to take a look in the cage, a lure is used. A good example of a lure is cat food.

“The process can take a few weeks or even longer if you are trying to trap a mature fox.”

The PHBG is keen to set up similar coordinated community programs in 2020 for foxes and other declared pests.

Caroline Knight, Deputy Mayor of the City of Mandurah, is an advocate of collaborative efforts.

“Coordination between the City of Mandurah, the Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group and landholders, enabled a broader reach and a greater outcome; it’s something we hope to replicate in other key areas.’

“Marlee is one of the most important conservation reserves in Mandurah and prized by our community,” Ms Knight said.

The PHBG can support landholders of all property sizes with their control of foxes through options such as trap hire and restricted chemical permit application subsidies. It can also help landholders connect with local shooting organisations.

Collected data can be used before and after control programs to show the positive impact coordinated community efforts have on decreasing the number of feral animals in an area.

If you, or your neighbours are noticing foxes contact the Group by emailing Fox activity, damage and control activities can also be recorded using the FeralScan resource. This resource helps stakeholders come together to plan coordinated control across fence lines and tenure.

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.