Monday, April 22, 2024

Goondiwindi tackles prickly pests

Goondiwindi Regional Council’s rural services team is celebrating a milestone in managing the invasive pest species Willows Cactus.

The team has been working with town residents across the district to remove the invasive pest species from residential areas, and has now removed or treated all known garden plants in Inglewood, Texas and Yelarbon townships.

Council says the team is now turning its attention to remaining specimens in the Goondiwindi town area and will be working with residents this week to remove any reported incidents of the species in local homes and gardens.

Local rural landholders who have found Willows Cactus spreading onto their properties will also have the opportunity to eradicate the species through a subsidised herbicide control program that aims to help the community achieve eradication across the region. There are known outbreaks surrounding Inglewood, Texas and Yelarbon townships.

The program is funded by the state and federal governments as part of the Queensland Feral Pest Initiative (QFPI).

Councillor Susie Kelly holds Council’s rural services portfolio and is encouraging residents to keep up momentum and remain vigilant in eradicating the pest species.

“We need to understand that this is a declared species for a reason,” Cr Kelly said.

“The Willows Cactus has every potential to become as destructive as the Harrisia in our region, so we need to knock this on the head before it becomes too prolific to be controlled.

­“Funding from the QFPI will contribute to the cost of eradicating the cactus from your property, and I want to really encourage local landholders to take up that opportunity and help our region eradicate this pest,” she said.

The Willows Cactus (Cereus Uruguayanus, also commonly known as ‘Cereus’) is a declared species in the Goondiwindi Region and residents must report any incidents to Council.

Cr Kelly said she wanted to thank everyone who had already been proactive in removing Willows Cactus from their property.

“The community response has been really positive so far, with a massive amount of Willows Cactus removed from our local environment already,” she said.

“The specialised disposal bins at the Inglewood and Texas waste facilities had really great uptake and have both been filled. They’ve now been emptied out and returned to site for any last landholders who still have cactus to be removed.

“Our rural services team also found some Willows Cactus that had been disposed of at the Talwood waste facility a few months ago. So we’re conscious that it may have spread around that area, however we’ve had no reports of it – we’re therefore asking local Talwood residents in particular to let us know if they have, or suspect they may have, Willows on their property so we can assist them to remove it.

“Council is relying on residents reporting incidents of the weed so we can work together to eradicate it for our region,” she said.

With spring in the air, Council is also reminding budding urban gardeners of their responsibility to ensure they have no restricted species in their gardens.

“Unfortunately, a lot of the weeds we deal with today, such as Willows and Harrisia, escaped from home gardens onto rural properties and bush land where they take hold,” Cr Kelly said.

“So, we really need town residents to step up as the first line of defence for our region.

“Already, while helping residents to remove Willow Cactus, Council has also come across Bunny ears, Eve’s pin cactus and Devil’s rope pear growing in local gardens.

“We’re reminding residents that these are restricted, invasive species, and that it is illegal to keep, give away, sell or release invasive cacti in Queensland,” she said.

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