[28 January 2016]
An intensive program of rubber vine treatment by Indigenous rangers is planned in the East Kimberley to preserve the habitat of endangered birds.
The invasive Cryptostegia rubber vine plant is encroaching on known EPBC listed species Gouldian Finch and Purple Fairy Wren habitat, located on Lissadell Station around the riparian area of Limestone Creek and its tributaries.
Rangelands NRM Program Manager (Kimberley) Grey Mackay said rubber vine is a Weed of National Significance that, if left untreated, will degrade the delicate habitat.
It has been identified as the second highest declared plant for the Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia (DAFWA) statewide in the list of high priority weeds.
He said nine days of a systematic grid ground survey of the area will be undertaken by the Kija Rangers, managed by DAFWA and funded by Rangelands NRM through the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.
“Sites where rubber vine are located, will be visited at least three times to aggressively treat all plants found — especially seed producing ones,” Mr Mackay said.
The ground survey will be undertaken following an externally funded aerial surveillance in February–March 2016 to locate any flowering vines in the area.
Mr Mackay said throughout the process DAFWA will include and involve the Kija (Indigenous) Rangers in anticipation that a second survey and treatment will be conducted jointly in 2017.
“This project will enable control work to continue for three years during which time it’s hoped the density of the rubber vine infestation will significantly decrease,” Mr Mackay said.
The project activities will complement weed eradication activities completed by DAFWA, Kimberley Rangelands Biosecurity Association and Ord Land and Water and foster engagement with the Kija Rangers.
“In addition, this project is an important opportunity to offer real benefit to the pastoral managers on Lissadell Station where this important habitat is located,” Mr Mackay said.