Four landholders, who have engaged in the North East Blackberry Action Group (NEBAG) program for several years and adjoin an 80-acre patch of forest at Walwa, are involved in a cooperative public land management pilot program. Read about the project in the latest issue of the VBT News.
Wellington Blackberry Taskforce – Information Day
The Wellington Blackberry Taskforce (WBT) is holding a Community field day to explain some of the best approaches to this age-old problem of controlling blackberries.
The WBT is a community-led program which works in conjunction with farmers, the Shire Council and other agencies to create a collaborative approach to weed management, thereby getting a good result on both sides of the fence.
A community field day will be held in Glenmaggie on Wednesday 21st February from 10.30 am, including a light lunch.
There will be experts offering advice on herbicides and wetting agents; mixing rates, spraying techniques and timing of control. There will also be information on creating a 3 year blackberry control plan.
The WBT achieved great success last year, including, establishing a control pocket with private landholders, Southern Rural Water (SRW) and Wellington Shire Council (WSC). This has given SRW and WSC an opportunity to utilise heavier equipment to support farmers who have agreed to work together on their blackberry problem.
Blackberry is a noxious weed that is a major threat to both agricultural production and the natural environment. Immediate control is imperative to achieve the community’s desire for long term control.
To achieve this, the WBT is seeking cooperation from residents in Lecola and the Glenmaggie region to identify local infestations and support the program by committing to a 3 year blackberry control plan.
For further information on the community field day or the community led program , call Peter Quennell on 0412 387 102.
Following the successful Cooperative Land management Forum held by the North East Blackberry Action Group in the Upper Murray last year, the VBT partnered with the Corner-inlet Blackberry Action Group (CIBAG) on the 17th March in Gippsland to provide information on future options for invasive species management.
40 people listened to topics from a range of presenters including Dr Robin Adair who outlined the current bio controls for blackberry and options for future research. Dr Greg Baxter from the University of Queensland presented research into Red Deer populations and what can be concluded from this in relation to other deer species. CIBAG committee member Russell Bond and Project Officer, Matt Stephenson reported on program achievements, and Chris Rankin South Gippsland Shire Biodiversity Supervisor provided data on the progress of the Council’s current roadside pest management plan.
Mick Dortmans from the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning explained the Good Neighbour Program for managing pests on public land adjoining private and how it works and Gerard Delaney from Parks Victoria (PV) gave a comprehensive outline of the integrated management of invasive species and working with landholders for better control on private property and PV boundaries. HVP Plantations representative David Smith reminded the gathering that HVP is always willing to work with adjoining landholders to minimise invasive species impacts on both sides of the fence and are responsive to landholder enquires.
Attendees then gathered in small groups to talk about what they heard and document their thoughts on what is working, what can be done better and the opportunities to get better outcomes. These discussions will be collated with feedback from previous and future forums and made public to contribute to future policy decisions.
View a selection of forum presentations on our Resources page.
Corner Inlet Blackberry Action Group and VBT invites you to:
Future Opportunities & Challenges for Invasive Species Management Forum.
Exploring latest research into:
– Blackberry Biocontrol: Dr Robin Adair
– Deer Population Growth: Dr Greg Baxter
– Good Neighbour Program: Matt Zannini
– Roadside Weed Control: Chris Rankin
Many landholders have properties bordering forested land, private and public, and share the management of boundaries. Invasive species control is usually the main management focus and in some cases there are good cooperative arrangements to minimise impacts on both sides of the fence.
A Forum on 17th March, sponsored by The Victorian Blackberry Taskforce and Corner Inlet Blackberry Action Group, will provide an opportunity to hear about the latest research into blackberry biocontrol, deer population projections and collaborative management of invasive species.
Dr Greg Baxter from the University of Queensland will present deer population growth models and talk through scenarios illustrating the challenges of different management and control strategies. Dr Baxter will also discuss the various management options for wild deer and describe how they might be improved in the future.
Dr Robin Adair, a researcher who spent many years working on blackberry biocontrol will discuss current and potential control agents. He will also report on the rusts which were released ten years ago and their effectiveness.
What is the Good Neighbour Program? How does it work and who can access it? Matt Zanini, Forest Planning Officer, DELWP, will explain the contribution this program makes to the management of Crown boundaries.
HVP Plantations grow softwood on large areas of plantation estate. David Smith will outline how invasive species are managed to minimise impacts on adjoining properties and the process for accessing assistance with boundary issues.
Lyn Coulston, Chair of the Victorian Blackberry Taskforce is urging landholders to come along, listen to the speakers and join the discussion. “What does the future look like for the growth and spread of blackberry and deer and what are the successful approaches being undertaken by people now? Knowing what to expect gives people time to plan ahead. There are always better ways of doing things and this a great opportunity for people to consider the information presented and contribute their ideas about future options”.
Future Challenges For Invasive Species Management
Toora Community Hall
Friday 17th March 2017
Registrations essential at Raelene.firstname.lastname@example.org or call Mobile 0410479254
The Victorian Blackberry Taskforce supports the control of blackberry in a sustainable manner. What does this mean?
When a blackberry management plan is developed, measures should be taken to minimise off-target damage.
Blackberries infest many areas including open paddocks, under storey and creek lines. These require different control and application methods.
Certain chemicals cause adverse effects on grasses, instream biota and native vegetation. It is the landholder’s responsibility to make informed decisions on what chemical is used and how it is applied. There are regulations governing aerial application.
For example, when using aerial spraying as a control option, which is an efficient way of covering large open areas in a short amount of time, the potential for off target damage is high. Certain areas may not be a suitable for aerial spraying including areas of native over storey and riparian areas where ground based spraying would be a better option.
Make sure you check with your Local Council as a permit and offsets may be required if native vegetation is being destroyed or damaged.
Read more blackberry control stories in the latest edition of the VBTNews.
As the blackberry action program is a grass roots program embedded within and run by community, it offers a unique approach to dealing with blackberry. Support to initiate control and/or reinvigorate landholders’ enthusiasm towards ongoing management is the key.
Why has this been so successful and what are the best ways to engage with landholders ?
We asked Danielle Cleland, Project Officer with the North East Blackberry Action Group, her thoughts. ‘The Project Officer (following the program designed by the Committee) is the direct contact person for your landholders.
‘From my experience it works well if the Project Officer is not someone directly involved within the community (so as to avoid any perception of bias or personal conflict). A good project officer who is able to relate to people easily, be open to different situations and provide an unbiased point of support will quickly engage landholders. The ability to build relationships with people, starting where they want to start (blackberry in this case), is a critical skill. As the reasons for unmanaged blackberry are complex, understanding ‘why’ is necessary in order to proceed with a negotiated management plan.’
‘First, establish that weeds are the responsibility of the landholder, understand why the blackberry infestation is out of control then negotiate a plan.’
Read more “Tips For A Successful Blackberry Program’ in the latest edition of the VBTNews – May 2015.
The non-chemical demonstration site is located in North East Victoria, near the township of Towong. The property is a certified organic dairy farm. The blackberry demonstration site is irrigated and located on a check bank running north- south and the infestation is approximately 30 cm high.
The aim is to demonstrate the efficacy of a product containing fractions of pine and other plant based surfactants on the pest plant blackberry. (Rubus fruticosus agg.)
The product’s mode of action causes desiccation of the plant’s cell wall which is different from traditional chemicals which translocate through the plant.
The product will control the weed seed and the plant it comes into direct contact with.
– It will decrease the blackberry biomass and damage the buds on the blackberry stem.
– There needs to be follow up applications of this product and grazing after the first application. (When using this product a motorised spray unit should be used. Full coverage is essential)
– It is possible to plant, sow and graze immediately after applying this product to the weed or blackberry infestation.
There are six plots measuring 10m by 1.5 m in the demonstration site.
Read more about the non chemical demonstration site and the methodology being followed on the site – Managing Blackberry.
We would like to welcome the Sandy Creek Woody Weed Action Group to the Victorian Blackberry Taskforce. The group is located in the Maldon region encompassing Sandy and Tarrangower Creek and their tributaries. The group steering committee is made up of the Sandy Creek Landcare Group, Maldon Urban Landcare Group, Tarrangower Cactus Control Committee, Connecting Country and Parks Victoria.
A third of the 4,400 hectare project area will be targeted in the first year, which will focus on signing 30 land managers to three year voluntary management agreements. Part of the program provides a $50 incentive for plants for revegetation.
The group will engage with two major stakeholders: Parks Victoria, who is a major land manager in the area, and the Shire of Mount Alexandra for roadside management. With Parks Victoria and the Shire aligning priorities with the group’s activities it will ensure better results for the project in future.
Read more from the VBT in the latest edition of the VBTNews.
The summer spraying season in the Upper Murray has seen great results and has been further enhanced by good autumn rain and the absence of frost.
In the last few weeks of the season we have seen contractors working hard to service their clients, farmers assessing achievements and making plans for the future. To prepare for upcoming seasons some land managers will install access tracks and remove dead canes.
The Partnership approach is continuing to reap rewards where roadsides are concerned. Council and Vicroads have completed a good level of control this year complimenting works by other land managers.
Well done everyone, keep up the effort !
North East Blackberry Action Group
Image: Track development at Cudgewa
Over 100 people attended the two VBT roadshows on the 7th and 8th of February 2014 at Boolarra and Toora North. Both events had a wide range of speakers from private landholders, chemical representatives, project officers, government staff and Landcare representatives. From these experts we gained knowledge on a wide range of topics from wider pest issues to blackberry.
Lyn Coulston chairperson of the Victorian Blackberry Taskforce explained why community led programs work and suggested the VBT model could be used for other pests. The presentation gave attendees an insight on the makeup and purpose of the VBT, and why the community weed model works.
Mr John Burley from the Department of Environment and Primary Industries highlighted two significant changes to legislation affecting pest animal and plant management. Pest control on local roadsides are now the responsibility of Councils and the new proposed Invasive Species legislation will replace aspects of the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994 concerning Pest Plants and animals.
Barton Roberts from the Department of Environment and Primary Industries gave a presentation on new and emerging weeds. The emphasis was on State Prohibited Weeds in the Gippsland Region. These included Japanese Knot weed, water hyacinth, salvinia, horsetail and Mexican feather grass. State Prohibited weeds have the potential to become widespread and cause social, economic and environmental damage. DEPI relies on the public to report sightings of these pests.
Dr Robin Adair from Australis Biological gave an insightful talk on biological control of blackberry. Biological control ‘rust ‘ has had good success in certain areas making blackberry plants less robust. He also went on to outline other research into biological control. An insect from Europe which attacks the crown of blackberry and Purple Blotch disease which has had promising results in shaded areas from trials in New Zealand.
Chemical representatives from Dow and DuPont presented expert advice on their various products and correct application. There were plenty of questions from the audience with community members relaying their own experiences with control of blackberry.
Hugh Frith from Certified Organics presented detailed information on the product ‘Bio-weed’ as an alternative control measure for blackberry. The products mode of action strips the cell wall of the woody plant. Corner-inlet are currently trialling this product on four separate properties with other control measures.
Both days had Presentations from locals including project officers Ed Szwaja (Corner-Inlet Blackberry Taskforce) and David Akers (Central Gippsland Woody Weeds Group). These two programs gave us a clear example of the flexibility of the VBT community partnership approach.
Local Landholders Russel and Raelene gave us an insight into their highs and lows of blackberry management in the Corner-inlet area. From the very beginning they had to learn from scratch and build up their skills to now feel confident in blackberry management.
As you can see, we had a great range of speakers and the Victorian Blackberry Taskforce would like to thank Corner-inlet and Wellington Blackberry Action Group for their on-ground organisation of the events. Special thanks must go to Ed Szwaja, David Akers, Charles Uber and Ian Ewart.
View a selection of presentations delivered at the
Victorian Blackberry Taskforce Roadshows: