This project will increase the level of protection against pond apple for coastal ecosystems on the east coast of Cape York, including mangrove, paperbark swamp and coastal littoral forest vegetation types as well as a number of Wetlands of National Significance. At a local level, the project will allow natural rehabilitation of the project area, an unusual coastal springs environment fed by groundwater flowing from the adjacent 900m Mt Amos.
Pond apple threatens coastal wetland landscapes throughout Cape York because of its ability to colonise and transform intact natural ecosystems, forming monocultural thickets effectively displacing native ecosystems. The 3ha Amos Bay infestation is currently the largest known pond apple infestation in Cape York. It is also located at the south eastern corner of the Cape, from where prevailing ocean currents transport pond apple seeds north along the east coast of the Cape to form new infestations.
Larger pond apple infestations existing further south on the Wet Tropics coast indicate the potential for pond apple to spread and cover large areas if small infestations are not controlled.
The Amos Bay infestation is beyond Jabalbina rangers’ normal control activities because of its size and location; this project will provide the additional resources needed to control this significant infestation.
Cape York Weeds and Feral Animals Incorporated has undertaken control of this infestation in the past, and has significantly reduced the size and density of the infestation. This current project involves an initial survey trip and then two control trips of approximately seven days each during the late 2015 dry season, followed by shorter visits to the site in the 2016 and 2017 dry seasons to monitor the site and undertake follow-up control as needed. Control will be undertaken by the basal barking technique, which has proven effective in controlling pond apple in north Queensland. Experienced CYWAFA Inc staff will lead a team of casual Traditional Owner rangers in control activities, with support from Jabalbina’s permanent ranger team.