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Battlelines drawn against weeds and pigs

Weeds, feral pigs and invasive grasses are the target of a new project at Kings Plains Station aimed at protecting the wetlands of Kings Plains Lake and the monsoon rainforests along the Normanby and Annan Rivers. 

The Project is one of approximately 12 new projects on Cape York being funded under Cape York NRM’s Catchments to Coral Program that is supported by the  Federal Government’s Reef Trust 7 program.

“Catchments to Coral is a program that works with landholders to fund various projects designed to protect and improve wetlands and floodplains, coastal vegetation  and turtle nesting beaches, while building the skills base of landholders and communities within the eastern flowing catchments of Cape York,” Cape York NRM Project leader Dave Preece said. 

“The funding goes to projects that address invasive species, fire management, marine debris, managing access, fencing out feral animals and so forth. It’s a whole-of-catchment approach that accepts improved land management equals better water quality for the Great Barrier Reef.”

“We address the causes and focus on building knowledge and capacity by funding training and workshops and there’s also flexibility, so if it is a good and successful project it can be extended.”

The Kings Plains Station project, which runs from November 2021 to June 2023, will also incorporate work at Caloola Station. Both locations are near Cooktown and owned by South Endeavour Trust. 

“The two properties contain a highly diverse mosaic of regional ecosystems,” Dave said. The Lake and the well-developed rainforests are two of the highest biodiversity assets.

“The properties are at major threat of increasing weed invasion by high biomass grasses that are moving along the public road corridors through both properties. And in the case of Kings Plains Lake, there is a very significant infestation of Olive Hymenachne that is slowly moving downstream. Feral pigs are also heavily disturbing the area around the lake and monsoon forests.”

The Project aims to protect both properties from further incursions of these weeds, which include Gamba, Mission Grass and Guinea Grass and Grader Grass and eradicate all new infestations before they become established.

The Project will also build on recent work to reduce the pigs in the vicinity of the Lake and the monsoon rainforests. 

Other  projects planned for this year are:

  • Eastern Cape Turtle Protection Partnership
  • Protecting the McIvor River and Tributaries at Mt Ray
  • Hymenachne control throughout Cape Melville and Rinyirru National Park (Lakefield); 
  • Pig Control in the Endeavour River/Annan River catchments;
  • Fencing springs and wetlands at Jungle Creek Station;
  • Coastal Lagoon fencing at Lama Lama country; 
  • Coastal protection projects with Cape Melville, Flinders and Howick Islands Aboriginal Corporation;
  • Coordinated Gamba Grass management program throughout the Cooktown region;
  • Supporting landholders with early dry season fire management; 
  • Cape York Grazing Forums.

 This project is funded by the Federal Government’s Reef Trust 7 program.