Nature Conservation meets with WA Environment Minister to discuss arum lily

On 10 October, Nature Conservation Board Member, Professor Carmen Lawrence and Project Officer, Genevieve Hanran-Smith met with WA Environment Minister, Hon Stephen Dawson to raise concerns about arum lily infestation across the south west and particularly in the Margaret River region. Promoted by an article in the Busselton Dunsborough Times, where the Minister called for ideas about how to control the invasive weed, Nature Conservation, with the assistance of Adele Farina MLC, Member for the South West Region, initiated the meeting with the Minister.

At the meeting, Nature Conservation was keen to showcase the success it is having with private landowner engagement in coordinated arum lily control programs, and encourage government assistance to tackle the problem.

Nature Conservation’s current coordinated weed control program takes a long term strategic approach, tackling priority weeds in high conservation areas, where the best environmental outcomes can be realised. Our staff work closely with clusters of private landowners engaging them in weed control on a cost sharing arrangement and fostering their commitment to take responsibility for future weed management on their land. Currently funded by the State Natural Resource Management Program, Augusta Margaret River Shire Council and the Water Corporation, this work has been particularly successful with landowners managing arum lily along the Margaret River and in the Redgate/Calgardup and Kilcarnup/Burnside areas.

Project Officer, Genevieve Hanran Smith was interviewed recently on the issue by the ABC and advised that Nature Conservation has worked with about 300 private landholders across 3,500 hectares over the last five years to get arum lilies under control. The success of this approach is demonstrating to landowners that a widespread problem such as arum lily can be controlled if everyone works together across the landscape. The complete ABC online article and a subsequent ABC radio interview with Genevieve Hanran-Smith are available at the links below.

The need for a collaborative approach was exactly what was presented to the Minister Dawson on 10 October. Attended by senior staff of the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA), the meeting resulted in a commitment from government to enter into a partnership with Nature Conservation to develop a campaign to control arum lily in the Capes region.

Nature Conservation hopes the outcome of this approach to government will be, not only a prioritisation by the Department of Conservation, Biodiversity and Attractions to address significant arum issues within the Leeuwin Naturaliste National Park, but also a increase in resources to assist Nature Conservation and landowners with their efforts.