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Volunteers learn how to identify Hawkweed

Volunteers learn how to identify Hawkweed

6 months ago from Parks Victoria

Volunteers help to eradicate dreaded Alpine weed

Tuesday 25 March, 2014

Volunteers are helping to eradicate one of the state’s worst weeds from the Victorian Alps. Hawkweed is an extremely invasive member of the daisy family and is a State prohibited weed in Victoria. It has already caused major environmental damage in North America, Japan and New Zealand. Three species have been discovered in the Falls Creek Alpine Resort and surrounding Alpine National Park. An eradication program is underway and being jointly overseen by Parks Victoria, the Department of Environment and Primary Industries and Falls Creek Resort Management. Universities, research organisations and volunteers are also helping with the eradication program.

Over summer, 59 volunteers made a significant contribution by seeking out Hawkweeds across the vast and rugged alpine landscape. Volunteers from the Victorian National Parks Association, Weed Spotters, Landcare and Bushwalking clubs, as well as individuals joined forces for the hunt. They searched a total area of 73 hectares over a five week period in December and January, discovering 15 Hawkweed infestations.

“The search involved approximately a thousand hours of surveillance over rough terrain and often in challenging weather conditions,” said Keith Primrose, Operations Manager for the Hawkweed Eradication Program with Parks Victoria.

The project was assisted with information from Parks Victoria’s Research Partners Program by the University of Melbourne, Parks Victoria and DEPI. This helped locate and prioritise Hawkweed infestations.

Falls Creek Resort Management supplied accommodation for the volunteers free of charge.

This meant they stayed on the mountain for the surveillance work and enjoyed their free time in this beautiful landscape.

Parks Victoria Volunteer Coordinator Yohanna Aurisch says these enthusiastic teams are making a real difference. “We had an amazing season with a fabulous bunch of volunteers and we can’t thank them enough for their time, hard work and dedication. They discovered infestations of Orange, King devil and Mouse-ear Hawkweeds and have helped us take another step towards eradicating this highly invasive pest.”

Keith Primrose says only a committed approach will see the eradication of Hawkweed from the Victorian Alps “Without the dedication and effort of these volunteers this program has significantly less chance of success.”

Planning is already underway for next year’s season and recruitment starts later this year. For more information contact Keith Primrose via info@parks.vic.gov.au

If you think you have seen a Hawkweed please contact DEPI on 136 186.

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