Outback landcare adventure

Mount Isa Landcare Group recently completed a week of Landcare and hosted two volunteers from Bulimba Creek Catchment as part of the “Outback Landcare Adventure”.

B4C volunteer

The first leg was an overnight stay North of Mary Kathleen treating mesquite.

Unfortunately, it is a legacy of the mining operation, mesquite was left growing on the tailings dam.

Since mine closure, contractors have twice been employed by government to eradicate the pest.

Mount Isa Landcare volunteers decided to take on this project in 2021, this is their sixth visit to the site.

Due to an exceptionally long wet season mesquite regrowth was quite alarming, Mt Isa Landcare Group Secretary Mark van Ryt explains.

“Our strategy is to keep destroying the noxious prickle tree before it flowers,” Mark says.

“Here we use a “basal bark” spraying “access and diesel” on the stem or trunk of the woody weed.

“With the large trees we cut them down with a chain saw and spray the stump.

“Eventually after about five years we should deplete the seed bank”.

B4C volunteer

The second leg of the landcare adventure was a move to a camp on the Corella River.

Here they planned to search for and remove the noxious weed belly ache bush.

They have been visiting this site for 16 years and have almost cleared the infestation.

Here, Mark says, they normally just pull the weed out of the ground, thus preventing it flowering and seeding.

“In the early years we would average about 15,000 plants pulled out per year,” says Mark.

“However, belly ache bush is now getting much harder to find and our annual tally is about 100.

“Now we have to search well away from the river, often amongst the rocky cliffs and in the spinifex.

“On this occasion we managed to find only 42 plants.

“It is important for us landcare volunteers to enjoy what we do – We are volunteers!”

While there is hard work, they also make sure they enjoy the great outdoors and the company of friends.

Their third leg was a move to a camp at the junction of the East and West Leichhardt Rivers.

This was their sixth visit to this site in an effort to remove a very large patch of rubber vine.

They like to work in pairs, simply searching for the weed then cut and spray the stumps.

Their strategy once again is to treat the weed before it flowers and seeds.

Landcare have been worked steadily down the Leichhardt River removing patches rubber vine.

At first, they focused our efforts in Gorge Creek about 15 kilometres further up the catchment.

They will return to this site in a couple months to complete the control and move on further down river.

They camped at the Leichhardt River Junction for three nights.

From this base camp one of the days they drove about 40 kilometres to treat a patch of coral cactus.

They also gave their visitors a tour to an abandoned mine and another beautiful waterhole. After a sausage sizzle lunch, they walked a short distance to where the weed infestation started.

Mark said the heavy overgrowth made it difficult to follow the track and find the cactus.

“It was pleasing to observe the cochineal released the previous year was well established,” Mark said.

“Never-the-less we sprayed what we could and returned to the waterhole for a relaxing swim”.

Over their week of landcare, they sprayed out about 200 litres of herbicide. The activity resulted in a big hit on four weeds of national significance, at four different sites.

Mark said this is a great boost for Landcare’s annual effort now at about a dozen sites we are treating.

“Thank you to our two volunteers from Brisbane for their help, and a big thank you to Bulimba Creek Catchment (B4C) Environment Fund in funding their week with Mount Isa Landcare”.

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