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 email@example.com or phone 0474 242 223.
COTTON BUSH INFORMATION EVENING 2022
The Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group (PHBG) hosted a Cotton Bush Information Evening on 30th November in Mundijong to provide an update on the outcomes of the second year of the ‘Controlling Cotton Bush in the Serpentine National Park’ State NRM project.
George Walley opened the evening with a Welcome to Country and returned later in the program to share the cultural significance of the Waangaamaap Bilya - the Serpentine River, and its link to the region’s Noongar ancestors. Ada Fawcett, a direct descendant of the original inhabitants of Spencer's Cottage and member of the Serpentine Historical Society member provided a unique insight into the project site.
The PHBG also gave a quick overview of the 'Controlling Cotton Bush in the Serpentine National Park' project and its activities and successes. CSIRO have been running a short term project looking at cotton bush biocontrol, seed viability and collecting community experiences via a social survey and presented to the group on their project.
Western Envirapest, WA's most awarded weed control business presented on their activities in the project's second year, and explained how they used their experience and best practice techniques when addressing the project site's terrain, access and scope.
PHBG provide suite of tools for landholders to control rabbits
With the next annual calicivirus release not due until autumn 2023, landholders seeing an increase in the numbers of rabbits over spring and summer 2022/23 have been provided with information on the suite of tools at their disposal to reduce rabbit numbers now.
An effective integrated rabbit control program should incorporate multiple complementary methods which may include baiting, shooting, biocontrols and/or harborage reduction. Safe harborage for rabbits can be warrens, vegetation, log piles, or unused machinery.
The below visual provides a step-by-step guide to using Pindone bait to reduce rabbit populations on private property. To support landholders with rabbit control the PHBG purchased bait stations which can be loaned free of charge in addition to the PHBG providing information, equipment services and site visits for one on one expert advice.
Landholders wanting more information on any of the above or wanting to register for the calicivirus release can call the PHBG Outreach Officer on 0438 741 875.
PHBG REPRESENT AT REGIONAL AGRICULTURAL SHOWS
SERPENTINE-JARRAHDALE FOOD AND FARM FEST
The PHBG team were on hand at three regional agricultural shows held within our operational area during spring 2022. At each show we were prepared with extra information and advice for dealing with specific challenges being faced in that particular region. For Serpentine-Jarrahdale, this was fruit fly, for Brunswick, Cape tulip and for Waroona, feral pigs.
PHBG expands equipment delivery in 2022
The Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group (PHBG) has expanded its range of equipment for landholders to loan free of charge and support their efforts to manage declared pests.
Under the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act (BAM Act) landholders are responsible for controlling declared pests on their own land.
“Some landholders have assumed that the $30 declared pest rate collected annually by the State Government funds the PHBG to control declared pests on their property, however recognised biosecurity groups were created to assist landholders with their control efforts, not to take on the responsibility of removing established declared pests,” PHBG Communications Officer, Teele Hooper-Worrell said.
“The PHBG is committed to helping landholders reduce the impact of declared pests on their lifestyle. Part of that commitment has been the investment in equipment that landholders can loan free of charge to help them control weeds like cotton bush or Cape tulip, or control feral animals like foxes and feral pigs.”
The PHBG website is being updated to reflect the evolution from educating landholders on the declared pest rate to getting on with the job of providing assistance to landholders via equipment loans, hosting events and field days as well as providing access to information resources. In 2021 the PHBG attended local public events and undertook an Equipment Roadshow to help spread the word.
Funded by the State Government through the Declared Pest Account, the PHBG has invested in 20 new fox traps to loan out to landholders, Matlock trapping systems for feral pig trapping, tree poppers for the removal of mature woody weeds, backpack sprayers for herbicide application and trail cameras to help landholders assess the level of feral animal activity on their property.
The group is also excited to enter the second year of the new weed wiper program, which saw two large and one small mechanical weed wipers delivered to landholders controlling Cape tulip. The orange flowers of Cape tulip are noticeable during spring when the weed is active and weather conditions over the last two years have led to an increase in the toxic weeds germination.
“Now that the declared pest rate is in its third year, landholders are becoming more aware of how the group can assist them and what we can offer them when they undertake control activities,” PHBG Outreach Officer, Jordon Garbellini-Adams said.
“Increasing on ground support to landholders across our operational area has led directly to an increase in best practise control activities. A great example is providing specialised equipment like the weed wiper for landholders to target Cape tulip amongst healthy pastures.”
The PHBG is keen to continue developing programs in 2022 and asks landholders that have ideas on new equipment or initiatives focused on controlling established declared pests to contact them via email to media@PHBG.org. Landholders can follow the PHBG on Facebook or check out the website at www.PHBG.org to put in an EOI for equipment and sign up for the quarterly newsletter to be kept up to date with upcoming events.
Biosecurity in the Peel Harvey:
A year in review
The team at the Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group have delivered another busy year supporting landholders with the control of established declared pests. Activities delivered in 2021 include an equipment roadshow, rabbit and weed workshops, feral animal control programs, weed validations and the new weed wiper program.
A far-sighted initiative the PHBG has been working on this year is setting up a customer relationship management (CRM) system where historical engagements with landholders are captured. So when a landholder rings or emails the group they don’t have to remind us about the programs they have been involved in, or the topics they have enquired about, previously. A CRM means more effective collaboration and communication within our organisation, directly to our landholders and with the wider community,’ said PHBG Communications Officer, Teele Hooper-Worrell.
Hundreds of historical engagements with landholders are being added by the PHBG Data Systems Officer, Sarah Way, who has streamlined the development and uptake of the CRM.
The PHBG recognised the increased need to engage in 2021, after COVID-19 impacted on the delivery of programs and events in 2020. The group took to the road on the 2021 Roadshow, setting up at community sites and events, with a range of equipment on display. The equipment showcases allowed landholders to take a look at the weed wiper, fox traps and weed poppers - which are all available free of charge.
The roadshow ended at the 2021 AGM where the PHBG presented their 2020 Annual Report, now available on the website www.PHBG.org.
The PHBG attended community events throughout the year including the Dwellingup Log Chop, Healing Bilya Harvey River Fair, the Waroona and Brunswick agricultural shows and the SJ Food and Farm Fest. The PHBG was kept busy answering questions, providing control information and signing up landholders to events and programs.
The Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group also launched the Pesky Pests school curriculum with a July event at the Harvey Primary School. The idea of developing a pest related curriculum started back in 2017, when the PHBG engaged with local teachers to evaluate what biosecurity resources were available to teachers.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. Hannah Lalor, an experienced science teacher, facilitated the launch and highlighted how important these hands-on resources are to student engagement and successful learning outcomes.
Declared Weed Control
At the beginning of the year the popular Weed ID and Advice workshops were held in Harvey. The workshops were held across two days including a Friday afternoon workshop and Saturday morning workshop. With over 44 registrants bringing in plant samples for the weed experts Greg Keighery and Andrew Mitchell to discuss and identify the workshops were dynamic and had a local flavour to the information presented.
The PHBG launched a new weed wiper program in response to increased germination of Cape tulip. Coordinated by Outreach Officer, Jordon Garbellini-Adams and new field officer Kim Nicholson, landholders within the PHBG operational area can now loan a weed wiper free of charge to assist them with controlling the weed. Landholders can set the application height above viable pasture and apply herbicide straight to the weed. The wiping application style means less herbicide is used and not applied to other plants or the soil. All 15 participants who took part in the first year of the program reported they would recommend it to other landholders.
Weed report validations have occurred throughout the year with over 100 initial landholder letters being sent out. When a community member reports a declared weed to the group a PHBG staff member will validate that report and send the landholder of the property in question an initial letter detailing the weed observed, control information and offering equipment to assist their control efforts. Thank you to all landholders doing their bit to control declared pests on their properties.
Feral Animal Control
Megan Plant, PHBG Field Officer has been training with feral pig trapping experts in the setting of Matlock trapping systems. The system has been successfully trialled across a range of property types and has resulted in the removal of 57 pigs over five trapping nights. Landholders that host a Matlock trap are then encouraged to attend training workshops on building their own trap to encourage year round monitoring and trapping of feral pigs in situ.
Controlling feral rabbits has been a hot topic for landholders in 2021. Seasonal variation has meant an abundance of food for rabbits. This has made it unviable for a coordinated spring release of the calicivirus. Instead the PHBG have postponed the virus release until early 2022 and delivered a series of information sessions on rabbit control. The information sessions included a virtual presentation by pest control expert, Dr Linton Staples, on the safe use of Pindone to reduce rabbit numbers. There were over 50 attendees across the series who received information on how to design a successful integrated management plan for long term rabbit control. Landholders can still sign up to the calicivirus release via the PHBG website www.PHBG.org.
The PHBG has been growing the amount and type of equipment that is available for landholders within the PHBG operational area to loan. Landholders can loan the equipment free of charge for activities such as cotton bush removal, cage and soft-jaw trapping of foxes, feral pig trapping, weed wipers and camera monitoring equipment. Over 100 pieces of equipment were loaned out to local landholders in 2021 to assist them in controlling declared pests.
The PHBG committee and staff are incredibly proud of their delivery of support across the five local government areas of Serpentine-Jarrahdale, Murray, Waroona, Harvey and Mandurah. Landholders can keep up to date with the groups activities via Facebook or signing up to the quarterly e-newsletter.
‘The PHBG are proud of what we have delivered over 2021 and look forward to working with landholders in 2022. Whilst out and about over the holiday break declared pests can be reported via the hotspot reporting forms on the PHBG website at www.PHBG.org,’ said PHBG Executive Officer, Jonelle Cleland.
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 July 28th.
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.
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.
The Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group (PHBG) hosted their annual general meeting at the Coolup Community Hall on Wednesday the 27th of February, 2019.
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.
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.
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”
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.