This week was my first week of my Industrial Placement with Burnett Catchment Care Association (BCCA). By way of a great introduction I attended the South East Queensland Pest Advisory Forum (SEQPAF) meeting held in Mt Perry on the 2nd of August. This meeting is where people such as Land Protection Officers, Local Governments, Researchers and Community groups meet to discuss the hot topics concerning pest management across South-East Queensland. It is a good chance for people in the pest management field to get an idea of the problems and goals of others.

There is always some pest that is causing a few headaches somewhere! The forum discussed the fact that sometimes weed control is made even harder because new property buyers are often unaware of weed infestations. The forum hopes to find a way of letting buyers know the risks of purchasing a property with weeds and also rewarding vendors who have their weeds under control. Watch out for a solution to these problems in the near future!

Feral pigs were another hot topic of the day. Knowing that feral pigs can be both a valuable meat product and cause a lot of environmental disturbance I found this topic really interesting. We were alerted to the fact that there are stringent licensing requirements when it comes to keeping feral pigs. This is in the hope to control their spread throughout Australia whilst providing some economic benefit.

BCCA also contributed on the day with Stacey Bratby, the Better Waterways Coordinator for the Better Burnett project updating the forum on the Burnett Catchment Water Weeds Project.  This project involves implementing Integrated Control Methods in partnership with a range of groups including Local Councils, the Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries and private landholders.  The project is aimed at using mechanical harvesters, chemical sprays and biological control agents to minimise and reduce the effect of serious water weeds in our waterways.  These weed species include Salvinia, Water Hyacinth, Hymenachne and Water lettuce.  To date the project has had some great success with an average 80% reduction of the weeds in the Burnett and Kolan Rivers.  The concern of the BCCA and the emphasis now is put on keeping the water weeds at a low level by continuing maintenance and getting landholders to monitor and control outbreaks on their properties.  As water weeds will probably always be in our waterways we all have to work together.

Michelle – Project Officer

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