Reef Catchments Pest Management Projects

Funded by: Reef Catchments Ltd.

Project Outline:

Over the years, Reef Catchments has funded several collaborative projects to help battle major weeds in Mackay and surrounding regions. These projects focused on Restricted Invasive Weeds such as Cat’s-Claw-CreeperRubber VineGiant Rats Tail Grass, and Pond Apple. PCL has been involved in many of these projects, and has worked collaboratively with various stakeholders to manage these weeds that are threatening our environment and industry. An excellent example and success story is the management of Pond Apple.

Pond Apple (Annona glabra) is a restricted invasive plant under the QLD Biosecurity Act 2014.  It poses a significant environmental threat to Northern Australia and is capable of destroying entire ecosystems.

In 2009, a suspicious fruit was brought to the attention of local Biosecurity Officers in Mackay by a concerned landholder. The fruit was collected from a tributary creek within the Reliance Creek catchment, just north of Mackay, QLD and was identified as Pond Apple. Upon identification, an extensive search was carried out to ascertain the degree of infestation. Surveys found that the infestation spanned across approximately 21.6 hectares of the Reliance Creek Catchment.  Knowing how invasive Pond Apple could be, members of the Mackay Regional Pest Management Group (MRPMG) were keen to work together to eradicate this pest from the Mackay region.   

Project Outcomes:

Since 2011, PCL have been involved in the monitoring and control of Pond Apple in the Reliance Creek catchment. Mackay Regional Council’s Pest Management Officer and PCL’s Project Officer have continued to survey, monitor and treat any identified Pond Apple species each year, with funding provided by Reef Catchments.  These ongoing efforts have seen Pond Apple numbers decline drastically and the infestation zone reduced from 21.6 Ha to 3.6 Ha.  Surveys carried out in the December 2017 and April 2018 did not locate any Pond Apple trees or seedlings, which is a fantastic outcome for the project and one that could only be achieved through collaborative partnerships and community involvement.

Funding opportunities, including the Australian Government’s Caring for Our Country program and now the NRM Investment program through the Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines, have enabled the ongoing eradication strategies and efforts, which has ultimately lead to the success of this project.  Mackay Regional Council will continue surveying in a reduced area for the next couple of years to ensure that the eradication of Pond Apple from the Mackay region is complete.