blackberry-control-manual-part-5

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					Part 5
     An example of blackberry
     management in practice

     Summary
     The use of an integrated approach to the management of blackberry
     infestations is important when dealing with the weed over large areas and
     jurisdictions. This part of the manual uses a case study to demonstrate how
     the information presented throughout the manual can be used in practice to
     deliver positive weed management, environmental and social outcomes.

     The integrated management approach of the Genoa River Interstate Liaison
     Committee (GRILCO) encompasses the best practice promoted in this
     manual and should be considered in attempts to manage blackberry.

     The relevant sections of the manual are referred to throughout this part as a
     guide to the information needed to make well-informed decisions regarding
     your blackberry management plan.

     Key points:

     •	 Integrated planning is an important component of successful control
        programs.

     •	 Identifying, mapping and recording important information, as well
        as community education and the provision of adequate funding and
        resources, is vital for success.

     •	 Involve all land managers and stakeholders within the control region to
        ensure all parts of the management plan are implemented.

     •	 Monitoring, follow-up control and rehabilitation need to be ongoing to
        ensure good outcomes.

     •	 Investigation of new control techniques, and their appropriate adoption, is
        useful to improve the effectiveness of a control program.
5.1 Introduction                                    5.3 GRILCO’s approach
The Genoa River Interstate Liaison Committee        At the start of the project, GRILCO defined
(GRILCO) is a committee comprising                  the catchments that needed to be targeted for
representatives from the East Gippsland             management attention and determined the value
Catchment Management Authority (CMA),               of each site on the basis of the assets present
Southern Rivers CMA, NSW National Parks and         (e.g. productive land, conservation and heritage
Wildlife Service (NPWS), the NSW Department of      listed land).
Primary Industries, Landcare (Snowy River and
                                                    For this project to be successful, GRILCO
East Gippsland), Parks Victoria, the Victorian
                                                    recognised that all stakeholders had to be
Department of Sustainability and Environment,
                                                    engaged in the planning and implementation.
the Victorian Department of Primary Industries,
                                                    The area crossed a State border, so agencies from
South East Fibre Exports, Willmott Forests, Bega
                                                    both States and existing complementary project
Valley Shire Council, Bombala Shire Council and
                                                    groups, as well as private landholders, had to be
private landholders.
                                                    contacted and involved.
                                                    GRILCO identified a number of funding options
5.2 The problem                                     for its project, including what was the Australian
                                                    Government’s Defeating the Weed Menace (DWM)
                                                    program. To successfully apply for funding
In 1999, GRILCO convened with the aim of
                                                    through these programs the project had to be
controlling serious infestations of willows and
                                                    well thought out and planned.
blackberry in the Mallacoota Lake and the Genoa
and Wallagaraugh river catchments. This area        As well as determining the extent of the
spans the eastern edge of the Victoria–NSW          blackberry infestation problem, the group
border. It contains the Victorian Heritage          addressed the following issues:
listed Genoa River and the headwaters of
Croajingalong/Nadgee UNESCO World Biosphere         •	 project coordination and on-going management
Reserve, an international Site of Significance      •	 consistent mapping to allow ongoing
for Geomorphology. It also contains productive         evaluation
grazing and farm forestry land on Nungatta
Station in NSW.                                     •	 strategy development, including consideration
                                                       of pathways for infestation
GRILCO set its first priority as the control of
willows, but in 2005, with 75% of willows           •	 contractor selection
controlled, the group included blackberry control   •	 future rehabilitation and monitoring of control
in its program.                                        sites
Blackberry occurred throughout the catchments,      •	 applied research and field trials to refine and
affecting about 10,500 hectares. A major               demonstrate suitable techniques
infestation of approximately 1670 hectares on
                                                    •	 community education, awareness and
Nungatta Station severely restricted the farm’s
                                                       involvement.
productivity.
                                                    As a result of its proposed integrated plan,
                                                    GRILCO secured $582,000 in 2006. This included
                                                    a $215,000 grant from the DWM program for
                                                    a project that would run for three years. As
                                                    well, drawing-up and implementation of the
                                                    plan drew on significant in-kind resources from
                                                    stakeholders. Nungatta Station, for example,
                                                    provided significant resources, including help
                                                    with mapping, and assessment and prioritisation
                                                    activities.




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                                                                   NPWS agreed to coordinate the project and to
       When beginning a blackberry control                         fund a helicopter to do the mapping work (the
       program, it is important to:                                works on Nungatta Station were coordinated by
                                                                   the Station).
       •	 assess the extent of the infestation and
          map it
                                                                     It is important to engage stakeholders to
       •	 prioritise the areas for control works on the              assess an infestation and set goals for
          basis of the value of any assets                           any control program (see Parts 3.2, p. 29;
       •	 identify the potential challenges involved                 3.3, p. 33 and 3.4, p. 35).
          in controlling the blackberry
       •	 prepare an integrated management plan
          with a range of control techniques, clear                Site assessment and mapping
          time frames and responsibilities
                                                                   GRILCO assessed the known sites of blackberry
       •	 secure adequate resources to implement                   infestation and developed a series of maps
          the plan                                                 for use during the project. They capitalised on
       •	 engage all stakeholders.                                 existing interstate agreements and utilised an
                                                                   existing geographical information system (GIS)
       See Part 3 (p. 28) for information on this
                                                                   to generate maps to display the locations of past
       process.
                                                                   and present agency activities and the extent
                                                                   and severity of the blackberry infestation before
                                                                   and after treatment, as well as to locate new
                                                                   infestations.
     5.4 What was done
                                                                     Initial mapping of a blackberry infestation
     Project development,                                            is essential to allow future evaluation of the
                                                                     progress being made (see Part 3.2, p. 29).
     coordination and management
     Project coordination and ongoing management
     are very important to ensure good blackberry                  The mapping exercise showed that blackberries
     management outcomes. GRILCO appointed                         dominated most wetlands and were present in
     a Nungatta Station subcommittee in 2006                       all gullies in the Nungatta Valley. In addition,
     to address that property’s large blackberry                   the mapping exercise showed that 700 hectares
     infestation, agree on the mapping techniques to               of blackberry could be controlled only by
     be used, and developed a matrix to determine                  using biological or pedestrian-based chemical
     how to prioritise any control works on Nungatta               operations.
     Station.
                                                                     Undertaking a site inspection and recording
                                                                     key attributes of a site allows for better
                                                                     planning to choose appropriate control
                                                                     techniques, identification of the resources
                                                                     needed to implement the management plan,
                                                                     and future evaluation of control works (see
                                                                     Part 3.2, p. 29).


                                                                   As a result of the assessment and mapping
                                                                   exercise GRILCO decided to target heavily
                                                                   infested sites in the upper catchment to protect
                                                                   the downstream high-conservation-value sites in
                                                          GRILCO




                                                                   the South East Forests National Park (NSW) and
                                                                   Coopracambra National Park (Victoria).
     Nungatta Station sub-committee in 2006.




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                                                      Existing pest control programs were already
  Prioritising sites for control by evaluating        being undertaken in the region. GRILCO
  the assets present is essential for any             integrated these established programs into the
  strategic control program to achieve realistic      management plan.
  outcomes with the resources available (see
  Part 3.3, p. 33).                                     The mechanisms or pathways for invasion
                                                        need to be considered when prioritising sites
                                                        for control (see Part 3.3, p. 33).
The initial map was continually updated by the
project coordinator, who receives map-based
information from agencies as they carry out their
                                                      One of the key programs was the Nungatta Fox
respective weed control programs.
                                                      Control Program. This is a collaborative venture
                                                      between NPWS and the Bombala Livestock Health
  Using the same mapping techniques on                and Pest Authority to control foxes on private
  a local scale allows the development of             land in the Nungatta Valley. It is part of the NPWS
  region-wide maps that show distributional           Fox Threat Abatement Plan 2001.
  patterns and allow control programs
  and rehabilitation to be implemented                Another key program was ‘Project Deliverance’.
  strategically (see Part 3.2, p. 29).                The group running this project aims to facilitate
                                                      the recovery of native mammals, birds and
                                                      reptiles across approximately one million
As part of the site assessment process, segments      hectares of public land in far East Gippsland
of blackberry floricanes and primocanes were          through the establishment of an integrated,
collected for identification purposes. Samples        large-scale and ongoing fox control program.
were then identified by using the Blackberry          Together with the Interstate Pest Animal
Identification CD-ROM to determine which              Working Group, these groups have developed
species were present at the priority sites. To        an integrated control program using fox baiting,
confirm this information, samples were also           pig traps and collaring. Monitoring of results
sent to a herbarium for verification. The major       indicates that fox numbers on Nungatta Station
species were R. anglocandicans, R. ulmifolius and     have declined and pig numbers have stabilised.
R. leucostachys.
                                                        Identifying the potential challenges in
  Species identification is a critical step in
                                                        implementing an effective control program,
  choosing appropriate control techniques
                                                        such as coordination with other existing
  and achieving good results (see Parts 2.2,
                                                        conservation programs, is very important to
  p.22; 3.2, p.29 and 4.1, p. 39). Part 2.2
                                                        achieve cost-effective outcomes and to keep
  (p. 22) provides information on the key
                                                        all stakeholders engaged in implementing the
  distinguishing features of blackberry and
                                                        control program over time (see Part 3.2, p. 30).
  the processes available for identification.
  Appendix 2 provides information on
  how to collect blackberry specimens for
  identification.
                                                      Contractor selection
                                                      Contractors to undertake control works were
                                                      selected on the basis of their demonstrated
Identifying pathways of invasion                      experience, including their adherence to relevant
                                                      occupational health and safety (OH&S) practices
Identification of pathways for infestation was an
                                                      specified by both NSW and Victorian State OH&S
important part of the GRILCO plan. The Genoa
                                                      policies.
River corridor is an invasion pathway and had a
high priority for treatment to prevent infestations
further downstream.                                     OH&S is always an important consideration
                                                        when developing a blackberry control
Long-term control of blackberry in this region          program. It is important to ensure that all
also required simultaneous control of the key           contractors and individuals have the capacity
dispersers of blackberry seed (mainly foxes and         to implement essential OH&S (see ‘Safety
pigs).                                                  concerns when using herbicides’ in Part 4.1,
                                                        p. 49).



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                                                        GRILCO




     Map produced for the blackberry control program.




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Rehabilitation                                        Sites that were treated by slashing once in
                                                      October 2006 and again in January 2008 showed
A property vegetation plan was developed to           little regrowth but substantial invasion by
provide a framework for future planning on            other species such as spear thistle. The high
Nungatta Station. Sites cleared of blackberries       proportion of dead canes compared with live
are actively rehabilitated to inhibit reinfestation   canes may have been the cause of the limited
with blackberry or other weeds.                       regrowth.
Sites are planted with indigenous tree and shrub
species. The emphasis is on species that will
have a competitive advantage over blackberry,
such as winter-germinating species.
An additional $40,000 was provided by the
DWM program to fence swamps and red box
communities and to carry out further vegetation
monitoring.

  Monitoring, follow-up treatment and
  rehabilitation of a control site are essential
  to achieve long-term blackberry control (see




                                                                                                                     GRILCO
  Part 3.6, p. 37).




Research and field trials
GRILCO worked with CSIRO to set up five trial
sites for monitoring the effectiveness of the
blackberry leaf rust fungus as a biological control
agent. As expected, there were moderate to high
infestations of the rust on the regrowth occurring
at sites that had been slashed.
Field trials to compare the response of blackberry
to various herbicides such as triclopyr +


                                                                                                                     GRILCO
picloram, metsulfuron-methyl and glyphosate
also commenced in January 2007.                       Browning-off of plants after treatment with Grazon® Extra
                                                      (triclopyr, picloram and aminopyralid) at different times.
Triclopyr + picloram showed immediate                 This field trial was established in 2007 in partnership with
brown-off and resulted in approximately a 98%         DOW Agrosciences.
kill rate, with little regrowth evident in the
following spring. Metsulfuron-methyl showed
slower visible results, with continual brown-off
throughout the year. Glyphosate demonstrated
good brown-off, but regrowth was more apparent
from root stock.

  Choosing the most appropriate control
  methods for each site is critical to achieving
  good results. Integrating a range of
  techniques is important and takes good
  planning (see Parts 4.1, p. 39; 4.2, p. 57 and
                                                                                                                     GRILCO




  4.3, p. 64).

                                                      Blackberry control field day in November 2006. John
                                                      Campbell from MacSpred spoke on the various chemical
                                                      control options and environmental outcomes.




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     Community action and awareness                                •	 A mixture of metsulfuron-methyl + glyphosate
                                                                      can be used to manage a broader spectrum of
     Field days were used to raise the profile of                     weeds growing in association with blackberry.
     the project and attracted large numbers of
     participants. They concentrated on educating                    Determining the category of each site for
     the community on the chemical and biological                    blackberry control allows key actions to be
     control techniques trialled for blackberry control              identified. For example, if a site is defined as
     and on the importance of integrated fox control.                an ‘exclusion zone’, conducting a community
     At the beginning of the project, GRILCO prepared                awareness campaign is a priority action and
     a media strategy that outlined the key objectives               an essential part of the control program (see
     and outcomes of the project. Media releases were                Part 3.3, p. 33).
     prepared to correspond with key milestones and
     distributed in both States. Radio interviews have
     followed major media articles in newspapers. ABC’s
     Landline coverage of the project, in connection               Works carried out and results
     with the work being undertaken by Dr Louise
                                                                   In one key location along Howe Flat, Parks
     Morin from CSIRO, has also helped to promote the
                                                                   Victoria initially decided to target an isolated
     project and further community education.
                                                                   three hectare infestation. They decided to foliar
     Advice provided at the field days included:                   spray triclopyr + picloram + Pulse Penetrant® and
                                                                   dye included. They used backpacks and quad
     •	 In areas close to water, use glyphosate                    bikes mounted with spraypacks.
        formulated for use near water.
                                                                   The infestation was large and dense, making
     •	 A mix of picloram + triclopyr is suitable in most          access to the plants difficult. The contractors
        situations, but take care if this mix is used near         designed an innovative method to reach all parts
        eucalypts, as tree damage and death may occur.             of the plants. They laid sections of reinforced
     •	 If eucalypts are present, triclopyr or                     mesh over the canes, drove the quad bike onto
        metsulfuron-methyl can be used but                         the mesh, and sprayed both sides. They then
        metsulfuron-methyl can cause tree damage.                  lifted mesh from behind and laid it in front of the
                                                                   bike, working forward while continuing to lay
     •	 Picloram, triclopyr and metsulfuron-methyl are
                                                                   and spray. The parts of the plant under the mesh
        all softer on pastures than glyphosate, allowing
                                                                   that were missed were later sprayed by hand.
        the retention of other species to prevent
        reinvasion of blackberry.
                                                                                                                         GRILCO




     Examples of works carried out on Nungatta Station by broadacre contract sprayers.




76
When spraying along the Genoa River, Parks
Victoria chose a different strategy. The
                                                    5.5 Future plans
28 kilometre section of river that was infested
was very remote, with vehicle access not            GRILCO members agree that a number of factors
possible. They needed to overcome logistical        have been the key to their success:
problems, such as problems communicating
                                                    1. Involving appropriate stakeholders in the
with contractors and the need to carry in all the
                                                       project. In 1999 they brought together a group
necessary equipment. Again, they chose to apply
                                                       of people with shared ideals. They continued
herbicide by using backpack sprayers. However,
                                                       to build on that group by expanding the
in this instance they used Roundup Biactive®
                                                       network to include those who could provide
Herbicide™ + Pulse Penetrant®.
                                                       more expertise and funding opportunities.
In both cases the kill rates of blackberry were
good. This was attributed to ensuring that          2. Effective mapping and monitoring of treated
the blackberry was not stressed at the time            sites with consistent follow-up reporting
of spraying. Follow-up treatment of isolated           by member agencies to allow the review of
regrowth was necessary, but this was not done          progress being made.
until there was sufficient regrowth for herbicide   3. Setting realistic goals and work schedules and
uptake.                                                sticking to them.

  The effectiveness of herbicide control            4. Ensuring that key stakeholders, particularly
  programs depends on many variables,                  agency staff, stayed involved. Agency
  including the site, terrain and species and          members of GRILCO were encouraged to
  the condition of the plants being sprayed            attend all meetings or send a replacement that
  (see Part 4.1, p. 39).                               had had some involvement in the project.
                                                    5. Evaluation of the control techniques that had
                                                       been used, and continued use of those that
                                                       had worked.
  Choosing the most appropriate herbicide
  (see ‘Type and rate of herbicide used’ in Part    6. Maintaining the enthusiasm of everyone
  4.1, p. 39) and application technique (see           involved.
  ‘Herbicide application techniques’ in Part 4.1,
                                                    The project is working towards the development
  p. 39) also needs careful consideration before
                                                    of best practice guidelines for the integrated
  a herbicide control program is begun.
                                                    management of blackberry and willows in the
                                                    catchments. This has potential to be adapted to
                                                    other catchments in the Southern Rivers and East
                                                    Gippsland CMA regions.
                                                    GRILCO also aims to increase landholder and
                                                    community awareness of blackberry and
                                                    willow control techniques through its ongoing
                                                    promotional and awareness-raising activities.




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