Keeping a watch on cacti in the Pilbara

[January 2015] 

A coordinated effort is helping to address infestations and further spread of cacti throughout the Western Pilbara.

The Pilbara Corridors Project is maintaining a monitoring watch on cacti after a successful PMMC and Department of Agriculture and Food WA (DAFWA) collaboration.

Pilbara Corridors Program Manager Ian Cotton said the final phase of the project has focussed on the towns of Onslow and Pannawonica.

“The aims of the project were to identify current infestations of invasive cacti, conduct on ground works to prevent further spread, and record occurrence and management of cacti on the Pilbara weed management database,” he said.

“Integral to the process was making land managers and the community aware of the threat of invasive cacti in the Pilbara and to inform them of how they could identify and assist in reducing the risk of cactus weed invasion,” Mr Cotton said.

Both town and pastoral properties were involved in the survey and ground works.

Linda Anderson, the Project Manager for PMMC summed up the endeavour:

  • Survey completed around 16 Pilbara towns (5,853 hectares)
  • Removed 125 separate occurrences of residential cactus cultivations (pots and gardens)
  • 15 tonnes of cactus removed from residential gardens
  • 13 instances of 'dumped' cactus on the outskirts of surveyed townships were controlled
  • Identified three new naturalised populations (two on pastoral stations and a nature reserve)
  • Control of naturalised populations on five pastoral stations and a nature reserve (250 hectares)

“The town survey also allowed us to identify and commence the removal of a number of other threatening weed species: Bellyache Bush (88); Ornamental rubber vine (14); Calotropis (54); Parkinsonia and Mesquite, one occurrence each,” Ms Anderson said.

Ms Anderson said the support of the community in identifying and locating cactus on the weeds of national significance list and other threatening weed species highlighted how important keeping a watch is to successful ongoing management.

Image: Inspecting the largest infestation of Coral cactus (Cylindropuntia fulgida var mamillata) at Peedamulla Station, Pilbara (Linda Anderson, PMMC)

More information about the Pilbara Corridors Project can be found on the website www.pilbaracorridors.com.au