NRKI Compliance: dealing with pests on Kangaroo Island

PEST CONTROL: Jason Walter doing control practices of Montpellier broom – one of the Weeds of National Significance (WONS) that NRKI is controlling on Kangaroo Island.
PEST CONTROL: Jason Walter doing control practices of Montpellier broom – one of the Weeds of National Significance (WONS) that NRKI is controlling on Kangaroo Island.

Natural Resources Kangaroo Island’s (NRKI) compliance series seeks to provide information and clarity on how you can “do the right thing”. This week we look at the importance of managing pest plants and animals correctly.

Although free from many pest plants and animals found elsewhere in Australia, KI does have a number of introduced animals and weeds that could cause irreversible damage to our environment and agricultural landscapes if left unchecked.

There are a number of plants and animals listed under the Natural Resources Management Act 2004 as declared pests, many of which have specific restrictions related to keeping, transporting or selling them. 

Under the Act, landowners are responsible for managing weeds that are declared for control and/or destruction on their properties, and on road verges adjacent to their properties. They must also notify NRKI of some declared and alert weeds on their properties. 

Certain weeds are also banned from being sold or moved (see links below for more detail). 

NRKI has a dedicated team for animal and plant control (APC) that helps manage some pest animal populations and weed infestations, and provides support and advice to landholders on behalf of the NRM Board.

Peggy Rismiller, KI Natural Resources Management board and Biosecurity Advisory Committee member, says the work carried out by the APC team is vital to stopping the spread of unwanted pests on the island.

“Be it pest plants or animals, the team’s work goes a long way towards ensuring our island’s ecosystem, agriculture and aquaculture industries remain intact,” she said.

Jason Walter, Animal and Plant Control Officer at NRKI, says many of our weeds are garden escapees. From one-leaf Cape tulip and bluebell creeper, that were introduced as garden plants, to gorse and blackberry, it is a constant battle to keep the weeds under control and from spreading further.

“Because many KI weed infestations have come about through people dumping garden waste, it’s important to think about appropriate disposal methods for this material,” he said. 

“The Kangaroo Island Resource Recovery Centre uses an effective method for treating garden waste to ensure it is unable to propagate and then recycles it as compost. Landholders can also contact us for advice on alternative disposal methods, especially high-risk weeds. 

“The animal and plant control team is available to advise you on how best to deal with any significant weed infestations and we also have equipment such as weed wipers for hire.” 

Working with the community over the past 12 years, the APC team has had great success in eradicating feral goats and deer from the island. With that major undertaking completed, the team can now help landholders control feral pigs on western KI.

Brenton Florance, Feral Animal Control Officer at NRKI, said the team is keen to assist landholders by providing feral pig traps and advice on the most effective control methods following changes to regulations.

“Some changes to the State Government policy on feral pigs have just been through a lengthy public consultation process. It is expected the changes will strengthen control provisions for feral pigs and make it illegal to keep, transport or sell feral pigs,” he said. 

“It is currently illegal to release feral pigs and offences can attract a penalty of up to $100,000 or two years’ imprisonment.” 

Animals that require permits from NRKI in order to be kept include domestic goats, deer and ferrets, while the KI Council has strict controls in place around domestic cat management.

Trish Mooney, Team Leader Animal and Plant Control at NRKI, says permits and the strict conditions that come with them are vital to minimise the risk of domestic animals escaping and becoming feral. 

“Precautions are needed to ensure that fencing is adequate to prevent animals from escaping, as happened with deer and goats in the past,” she said.

“While we don’t encourage people to bring more potential pests to the Island, as long as they meet the strict conditions for containing the animals we are happy to issue the relevant permits.” 

The APC team relies heavily on members of the community to do the right thing, to report sightings of pest animals and weed infestations and to apply for the relevant permit if they intend to keep animals that are declared pests.

The SA Weed Control App is an excellent resource which provides essential information about the control of declared weeds. Users can also easily record the location of weeds and take photos for reporting and seeking advice from regional resource officers. The app can be downloaded here: http://www.pir.sa.gov.au/biosecurity/weeds_and_pest_animals/weeds_in_sa/weed_control_app

A full list of declared and alert weeds can be found in the SA Weed Control Handbook:

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