Serrated tussock community engagement training

Towards Better Management of Serrated Tussock

Community Engagement Principles and Practice Workshop

Bacchus Marsh, Saturday 25 May

9 am – 4 pm

Are you interested in serrated tussock control and looking to develop your community engagement practices?

Apply now for this free workshop, hosted by the Victorian Serrated Tussock Working Party (VSTWP).

You will need to be interested in connecting with others to share your knowledge and experience of what is going well and the issues you face, in a professionally facilitated, peer-based learning environment.

Fifteen places are available. Applications are welcomed from community members, volunteers and professionals involved in serrated tussock management, whether it be through a community or farming group, Landcare, government agency, Catchment Management Authority, or any other organisation with land management responsibilities.

Applications close Friday 5 May 2019. Apply online at https://goo.gl/forms/RTDn3wwqbcazJbW33

For more information contact Martin Deering, VSTWP Executive Officer: info@serratedtussock.com

Motivating the disengaged

Field day participants at a talk on serrated tussock controlAn innovative social science project has delved into one of the biggest issues plaguing community pest management: how to motivate disengaged landowners.

Funded by the VSTWP through the Weeds and Rabbits Project, it focused on understanding the mindset of “don’t know/don’t care” landowners.

The research considered different types of landowners and the values that would be most likely to drive or hinder weed control.

Community Engagement Officer at VSTWP, Ivan Carter, said the findings were transferable to many environmental issues and challenges.

“The work provides us with more effective options and strategies to embed into our engagement activities, and gives us a better understanding of the landowner groups we are dealing with and what exactly motivates them.”

A report on the project is available on the VSTWP website.

Image: VSTWP Extension Officer Ivan Carter with community members at a recent field day.

New resources to tackle serrated tussock

VSTWP members Lance Jennison (left) and John Burgess (right) with Cassie Borg from Hume City Council at a recent serrated tussock workshop (photo: I. Carter).
VSTWP members Lance Jennison (left) and John Burgess (right) with Cassie Borg from Hume City Council at a recent serrated tussock workshop (photo: I. Carter).

The Victorian Serrated Tussock Working Party is working to support the community to manage serrated tussock in the core infestation area west of Melbourne.

The group is working closely with new landowners in the area to ensure they’re equipped to manage this weed. A new extension officer will be providing additional support to landowners and local council around Sunbury and Diggers Rest.

A recent best-practice management field day in Diggers Rest attracted 42 landowners and community members to see treatment demonstrations and discuss integrated control options.

Further field days are planned for spring 2018. For more information contact info@serratedtussock.com.

Roadside pests: how we made it work

neil2

Up until about 2011 there was a lot of doubt and controversy about who was responsible for pest plants and animals along roadsides. After a lot of consultation and hard work in establishing a determination, local councils were deemed to be responsible for all roadsides that were ‘council roads’. VicRoads would continue to maintain all roads and freeways for which they were responsible.

As a result of this decision the Victorian Government provided funding to shire councils to address roadside weed and pest management. Shires could engage contractors to undertake the work that would then be approved for payment.

Our shire’s initial funding was $150 000 over the first three years: this was extended to a fourth and fifth year – total funding was in the order of $250 000.

The rate base for our Shire is small. There are not many on-ground staff. Recognising this as an issue, that in the past weed control had led to sub-optimal results, our local landcare groups developed a model to assist the Shire in delivering the program.

Our proposition was that if the Shire met all the regulatory requirements of the funding, the landcare groups would inspect the roadsides to locate weeds and rabbits. Each group selected an approved contractor to undertake the work; a landcare representative supervised the work and approved final payment by the Shire to the contractor on the basis that work was completed to the required standard.

Shire officers, agency staff and the landcare group representatives have met annually to review and improve the program.

There has been a significant impact on the extent of roadside weeds. The involvement of the landcare groups meant that community education is more effective and our community owns the project. A win-win for all.

How we made it work-A Pest Plant and Animal Roadside Management Program

neil2

Up until about 2011 there was a lot of doubt and controversy about who was responsible for pest plants and animals along roadsides. After a lot of consultation and hard work in establishing a determination, local councils were deemed to be responsible for all roadsides that were ‘council roads’. VicRoads would continue to maintain all roads and freeways for which they were responsible.

As a result of this decision the Victorian Government provided funding to shire councils to address roadside weed and pest management. Shires could engage contractors to undertake the work that would then be approved for payment.

Our shire’s initial funding was $150 000 over the first three years: this was extended to a fourth and fifth year – total funding was in the order of $250 000.

The rate base for our Shire is small. There are not many on-ground staff. Recognising this as an issue, that in the past weed control had led to sub-optimal results, our local landcare groups developed a model to assist the Shire in delivering the program.

Our proposition was that if the Shire met all the regulatory requirements of the funding, the landcare groups would inspect the roadsides to locate weeds and rabbits. Each group selected an approved contractor to undertake the work; a landcare representative supervised the work and approved final payment by the Shire to the contractor on the basis that work was completed to the required standard.

Shire officers, agency staff and the landcare group representatives have met annually to review and improve the program.

There has been a significant impact on the extent of roadside weeds. The involvement of the landcare groups meant that community education is more effective and our community owns the project. A win-win for all.

Proactive management of serrated tussock

DSCN2707.jpg

The time to treat serrated tussock infestations is always yesterday. If that is not possible, the next best option is to treat the first plant that arrives on your property. There is a single immature serrated tussock plant in the picture, and also a single gorse bush. Imagine the time and money saved if the land manager removed these two plants and monitored the sites for a decade.

Community led action needs to focus on enabling landowners to identify invasive species during the early establishment phase, as well as prevention of spread and pathways. If a rural landowner receives good extension services from community groups/taskforces, these plants would be identified and the risks explained in clear language.

Removing these two plants prior to seeding would give you a great return on your money, time and investment.