Nature Conservation Margaret River Region’s Arum Lily Blitz is back, and this year there’s also a new app to help in the fight against our region’s worst invasive weed species.

To kick-start the arum lily control season, Nature Conservation has launched a new mobile phone app called Fieldbook. Anyone who downloads the app can record and upload any arum lily sightings in parks, reserves, bushland, road verges and national parkland across the region to help map infestations and identify priority areas.

The conservation group says arum lilies are devastating because the species outcompetes native flora, reduces habitat and food availability for wildlife, and replaces native plants with a dense, toxic monoculture. The lilies start appearing in winter and flower in spring.

Now in its 6th year, Nature Conservation’s Arum Lily Blitz coordinates government agencies, community groups and landholders against the threat of arum lilies, while supplying free herbicide and training to landholders. Almost 2000 landholders are now signed up to the Blitz and, alongside government agencies and volunteer groups like the Friends of the Cape to Cape Track and Yallingup LCDC, are controlling arum lilies over more than 23,000 hectares in the Margaret River region.

Experienced Nature Conservation biodiversity officer Genevieve Hanran-Smith is back at the helm of the Blitz, and she said the Fieldbook app was a major new tool in the fight against the weed.

“The Fieldbook app has been developed to enable the community to collect information on arum lily presence and this information will enable much better decision making about where to focus the control effort,” she says. “Small, manageable infestations can be dealt with early before they spread. Infestations close to areas of very high biodiversity value or concentrated community effort can be controlled as a priority.

“The resources needed to collect this information has so far made data collection at the necessary scale impossible.  Having hundreds of interested community members capturing weed data whilst they are out and about enjoying our natural environment will be a game changer.”

The Arum Lily Blitz is the first coordinated, landscape-scale weed control program of this type in WA, with an ambitious, long term 20-plus year vision.

“We’ve demonstrated that if landholders and community members get the encouragement and assistance they need, they will do the work to protect biodiversity, agriculture and the diverse beauty of our landscape,” says Ms Hanran-Smith. “We have completed five years of coordinated effort, but success relies on perseverance and extending the reach to all land managers that have arum lily on their property. Protecting our beautiful region is the shared responsibility of thousands.”

Click HERE for more information and a detailed, easy-to-understand how-to guide to install the app.

Nature Conservation general manager Drew McKenzie said the conservation group is also helping neighbouring shires including Busselton, Bunbury and Capel to adopt and expand the Arum Lily Blitz, meaning a far bigger impact over a much larger area.

For landholders on larger properties who cannot deal with arum lily infestations on their own, Nature Conservation’s Bush Regeneration Team can be hired to carry out arum control. For landholders registered with the Blitz, free herbicide can be collected from the Nature Conservation office as well as from supporting businesses Busselton Agricultural Services, Dunsborough Rural, Vasse General Store, Cowaramup Agencies, Karridale Agencies and True Value Hardware in Augusta.

The Arum Lily Blitz is funded by the WA Government’s State Natural Resources Management Program. See www.natureconservation.org.au to find out more, register, and receive free herbicide, information and resources.