Arum Lily Blitz most successful yet
Nature Conservation Margaret River Region’s Arum Lily Blitz has come to an end for the year and 2023 has gone down as the most successful yet, with major inroads made into fighting our region’s worst invasive weed.
The 2023 blitz kicked some major goals including filling in key gaps across the region in arum control, especially in the Augusta area, Margaret River’s Burnside and Kilcarnup localities, and near Yallingup.
Nature Conservation – working with volunteers and groups including the Friends of the Cape to Cape Track and Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) – also targeted some crucial spots in the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park around Quinninup, Moses Rock and along Cowaramup Brook near Gracetown.
There were also major wins in Boranup Forest, thanks to community donations following the 2021 bushfires. Here, teams of Nature Conservation volunteers and staff mapped huge areas to inform on-going control, followed by contractors “closing the noose” around the major arum lily infestation as part of a containment approach.
Fair Harvest Permaculture hosted an end-of-year celebration for volunteers, businesses, contractors, and landholders who have signed up to the Arum Lily Blitz, and Blitz coordinator Mike Griffiths told the gathering that major inroads had been made in 2023.
“Over 300 new landholders registered for the Arum Lily Blitz this year, bringing the total number of people registered to 1,950,” he said. “We’re still crunching the data but we’re expecting the total land area where arum lilies are now being controlled to be close to 23,000 hectares across the Capes region. That’s a huge achievement!”
But Mr Griffiths said the biggest achievement of 2023 is the increasing community awareness as more people recognise arum lilies as a key threat to region’s biodiversity.
“I’m seeing a lot more awareness in our community, more understanding about the problem and a lot more people who are willing to register for the Blitz and take action on their own property. The Blitz wouldn’t work without this awareness,” he said. “We’re also seeing more people put their hands up to help out in all sorts of ways. The teams volunteering for the Boranup surveys were inspirational! Stronger engagement in social media, our local newspapers and on radio has helped immensely too.”
Mr Griffiths said more businesses helping to distribute free herbicide and information also provided a huge boost to the Arum Lily Blitz, making it easily available in new areas. “We couldn’t have done it without the help of Vasse General Store, Dunsborough Rural, Busselton Agricultural Services, Cowaramup Agencies, Karridale Agencies and True Blue Hardware in Augusta,” he said.
The arrival of warm, dry weather means the spraying season finished much earlier this year but “we’ll be ready for action in the winter of 2024 when the arums start popping up again”, he said.
“There’s always plenty more work to do, but the fantastic results from 2023 should give everyone hope. Collaboration between neighbouring landholders across boundaries is essential for long-term control, and we’re seeing that happen more and more,” he said.
Nature Conservation general manager Drew McKenzie said the Arum Lily Blitz was now being used as the model for community weed control program. It is a coordinated region-wide attack on arums, funded by the WA Government’s State Natural Resources Management Program until 2024. See www.natureconservation.org.au for more information.