The beginnings

A partnership between Wildcare Tasmania, Sea Spurge Remote Areas Teams(SPRATS) and the Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) was set up by me, Helen Plaister, in November 2015 at Narawntapu NP. It was to be known as Wildcare: Friends of Narawntapu.

As I had been involved in the have remote weed management (mainly sea spurge) for the last eight summers in the Conservation area along the coastline between Cape Sorell and Cockle Creek and saw there was a possibility of helping PWS deal with the sea spurge problem that exists at Narawntapu NP by using volunteers on a regular basis.

We, a different group under the regulations of Wildcare Tasmania rather than SPRATS, are committed bushwalkers based on the North-West coast who have seen a need to continue the good work and try to rid the coastline of the invasive plant sea spurge in Narawntapu National Park.

In 2016 under the guidance of the PWS team we have set up a weeding program using volunteers on a regular basis, usually 2 days a month. We have targeted an area between Griffith point and Bakers point. The aim is to hand weed the sea spurge mapping, recording relevant data, including the seas birds as we go. There has been follow up spraying of this area by PWS.

The People

The volunteers came from the two bushwalking groups I walk with. Mary’s Monday Mob and the North-West Walking Club Inc. They know and trust me so with a bit of arm twisting and the bribery of sausage sizzle and carrot cake they willingly turned up when asked.

The PWs personnel were the parks ranger Clinton Dowling, Assistant ranger Ted Bugg and in the beginning Daniel Bowden and ex forestry worker. Unfortunately, Daniel was transferred early when the fire broke out in the Mersey area and the appointed in that region. I say unfortunately as he was one of my main support crew as he had all the necessary spraying credentials to do the follow up spray when we needed it.

6 people from the SPRATS Program as their knowledge and skill is invaluable.

A Latrobe Contractor (contracted through me by PWS) who with his team could conduct extensive spraying along the eastern part of the beach with monies made available from an NRM Coastal Care grant of $10.000

The results and activity so far.

2016 – 10 sessions

  • 7 weeding sessions were held with an average of 7 people working for 42 people hours each session= 343 man hours and   approximately 214,733,000 (nearly a quarter of a million plants hand weeded).
  • 3 more volunteer sessions working with PWS where we:
  1. cleared Koybaa camp sites
  2. chopped thistles
  3. Raked and levelled out the Springlawn campsites
  4. Walked the length of Bakers beach (5kms) collecting plastics and rubbish.
  • The successful application for funding of $10,000 and the agreement by PWS to see if they could spray a section of sea spurge, and make a difference. The quantities of the stuff at the park are enormous and some drastic support is needed to even make any inroad into it. Having seen and photographed the results I am hopeful NRM will see its way clear to award us similar funding this year to continue the work.

In February, this year (2017) I asked I asked volunteers to trial a camp session so we didn’t have to keep travelling. This occurred 22nd -27th February 2017. The results for that session were 5 core people stayed all the time with 22 others visiting over the 6 days.

This turned out to be fabulous with a great deal of hand weeding done along the Griffiths point-Bakers point section we had started with. Apart from 50 metres it is almost cleared and will just require a day to walk through each year.

  • The total for that camp is 334 man hours weeding 3,965,000 plants.

What an achievement !!