Reinvigorating community action on blackberry

WASBAG members and supporters on a blackberry infested property

The first year of a partnership between the Victorian Blackberry Taskforce (VBT) and the Whittlesea community (on the northern fringe of Melbourne) has been productive and busy for landowners and the local council.

Formed in response to community and council interest in managing blackberry infestations on peri-urban and small rural acreages, the Whittlesea and Surrounds Blackberry Action Group have worked closely with City of Whittlesea and the VBT to sign up 29 local landowners to voluntary management agreements.

The group have also hosted an Invasive Species Forum, which saw 40 community members meet to discuss blackberry biocontrol, deer population projections and further collaborative opportunities with local council and Melbourne Water.

Most recently, the group worked with the VBT to hold a demonstration day on practical control techniques including the use drones for applying herbicide.

The Whittlesea program will continue over the next 12 months, focusing on follow-up visits and recruitment of new landholders. The video featured at the start of this newsletter highlights some of the group’s early achievements.

Another new group, the West Strzelecki Blackberry Action Group, has recently been formed in the Mt Worth area south east of Warragul. The group hopes to sign 20 landholders to a voluntary management agreement in the next 12 months.

Image: VBT Executive Officer Barton Roberts with WASBAG President Peter Rutley and City of Whittlesea Environment Officer Katherine Whittaker.

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