The Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group formed in 2014. This came after a public meeting where frustrations and concerns were raised about escalating infestations of weeds and feral animals.
The group is a not-for-profit organisation operating under the model rules for incorporated associations. It’s committee is comprised of community and local government representatives from Serpentine Jarrahdale, Murray, Mandurah, Waroona and Harvey.
In 2017, the Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group was recognised by the Minister for Agriculture and Food under the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act 2007. The Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group is now one of twelve Recognised Biosecurity Groups (RBGs) implementing a Declared Pest Rate (DPR) in 2018.
To make our vision a reality, we need accurate information which is currently lacking or patchy at best.
We need to know from you;
'hot spots' or 'source' areas,
where people are willing to work together to achieve a bigger result than working individually,
local impacts due to inaction and action.
The Group is located at the Waroona Landcare Centre, which is a friendly community hub provided by the Shire of Waroona.
Our vision is to see the negative impacts of declared pests (both plants and animals) reduced to a minimum, or level that is accepted locally. This can only be achieved by getting declared pests onto the day-to-day agenda of everyone who lives, works or operates in our operational area.
Information for landholders Skill building for landholders Connecting neighbours Resources for schools
To do that we plan to deliver.....workshops, events, community programs, education, community support.
Pests are a significant burden on the Australian economy.
The agriculture sector can be severely impacted by pests, through production losses, increased operation costs, and in some cases reduced terms of trade.
This all impacts the bottom line, and in turn the livelihoods of producers.
Beyond the bottom line, a producer's overall well being can be negatively impacted by pests. For example, it has been shown that farmers can experience significant emotional stress as a result of repeated stock maulings from wild dogs.
Pests can cause big changes to the natural environment.
Weeds alter the frequency of fires, nutrient cycling, water availability and soil structure.
Pest animals are a burden with increased grazing and predation. They compete for food and shelter, and can spread disease.
Generally, pests reduce species abundance and diversity.
For conservationists, pests can thwart efforts to restore functioning ecosystems. Regeneration of native plants and the recolonisation of an area with native animals is generally not achievable if pests are beyond a critical level (which can be a surprisingly low level).
An urbanising and diversifying landscape means more and more people do not make their living solely off the land. Some landholders may feel removed from agriculture and are not sufficiently informed or concerned about food security for it to be a motivator for controlling pests.
Similarly, some landholders are not inclined to control pests for environmental benefit, particularly when the outcomes are not readily seen on their own property.
However, lifestyle factors can still be a big part of the equation.
The impact of pests on a person's lifestyle are not well documented but are likely to be significant. For example, horse enthusiasts worry about the risk of poisoning from toxic weeds in their feed. Similarly, the thought of a horse breaking its leg from a rabbit warren can be alarming to their owner.
Co-ordinated, community-led action is considered the most effective approach for management of widespread and established pests such as foxes and feral pigs.
"A new, lower pest population is only possible if control tools are effective, where there is buy-in from the community, and landscape level application.
Community buy-in may be the limiting factor and will usually require considerable investment in time and expertise to achieve the level of coverage to align with the size of effective management units"
Fleming, P, Ballard G, Reid N, and Tracey, J (2017). Invasive species and their impacts on agri-ecosystems: issues and solutions for restoring ecosystem processes. The Rangeland Journal, open access.
The Peel Harvey Biosecurity knows that you can't take the foot off the peddle when it comes to pests. It's no good putting in effort and investing resources one year, to not follow it up in subsequent years. Or to have people in one area make a big dent, only to be re-invaded by surrounding areas.
The Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group understands it can be challenging to get government and community buy-in, and maintain it over the medium to long term. There is no one magic bullet. The Group will need to apply a whole suite of options; from ground-level engagement of landholders to high level lobbying - and everything in between.