Landholders in Dunsborough, Meelup, Yallingup and surrounding areas are invited to join the region’s biggest arum lily program and do their bit to protect regional reserves and the national park.

Nature Conservation Margaret River Region’s Arum Lily Blitz is on a recruiting drive, offering landholders free herbicide to control the introduced species as well as reimbursements for those using spray contractors.

Now in its fourth year, the Blitz already has countless success stories like Meelup Hill’s Sally Porter, who has not only claimed back her land from arum lilies but is now recruiting others to do the same. “It took me a couple of years to get on board, but as I was travelling around the area, I realised we had a grave problem,” she said.

“So I decided the least I could do was make sure this area was arum lily free… and I’ve made it my goal to contact all land owners in Meelup Hill to make them aware of the arum lily problem.”

Dunsborough, Meelup, Yallingup, Quindalup, Quedjinup and other surrounding town sites are all hotspots for the invasive arum lily, which was introduced from South Africa and now infests large swathes of the Capes region.

But in a major push back, the Arum Lily Blitz has been successfully bringing together local and state government agencies, and landholders since 2019 for collaborative, coordinated and sustained weed control efforts.

Nature Conservation project officer Mike Griffiths said Mrs Porter and other people championing arum control in small areas were contributing to the Blitz’s success.

“Arum lily is readily spread by birds, and birds don’t care about fence lines or property boundaries, so we see the best results when neighbours band together with a common goal,” he said. “The alternative is allowing arum lilies to run rampant, infesting remnant vegetation, the Meelup Regional Park and Leeuwin Naturaliste National Park – but so many people are working hard to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Mrs Porter has scaled back lilies to the point where her property is virtually arum free and was calling on neighbours to do the same.

“If we don’t attack it at a community level and everyone takes a bit of responsibility for their property, we’re not going to get on top of it,” she said. “Once I bought this property, I felt there was a responsibility to leave it better and that’s my motivation.”

The small amount of herbicide needed can be collected for free from Dunsborough Rural, Vasse General Store or the Nature Conservation office in Margaret River. For information on contractors, and other resources or to register, go to natureconservation.org.au

The Arum Lily Blitz is funded by the Western Australian Government’s State Natural Resource Management Program.