Biggest ever arum lily blitz covers 11,000ha in first year

Under control: Dr Ann Ward in the area where arum lilies have been controlled and revegetation is being undertaken. Photo: Taelor Pelusey
Under control: Dr Ann Ward in the area where arum lilies have been controlled and revegetation is being undertaken. Photo: Taelor Pelusey

More than 600 participants covered a whopping 11,000ha in the first year of the region's biggest ever attack on arum lily and organisers are now riding that groundswell of support into year two of the program.

Spearheaded by Nature Conservation Margaret River Region and funded through the Western Australian Government's State NRM Program, the Arum Lily Blitz is a three-year coordinated control effort across all land tenures.

Last year, 624 properties registered and arum control occurred across 10,800ha of land, with almost 160 hours collectively focussing on the National Park at Calgardup, Wooditjup, Prevelly and Cowaramup.

On private properties, spray contractors and landholders completed nearly 2000 hours of control.

Nature Conservation project officer Genevieve Hanran-Smith said she was blown away by the response and praised the community's commitment.

"Last year was our first year of the Blitz and we obviously hoped it would be a success, but we were amazed by how many people got involved," she said.

"It's a credit to the entire community and proof that people want to protect the environment and do their bit to control arum lily."

The toxic plant was introduced from South Africa and has taken hold across the region, choking native vegetation, reducing availability of food for wildlife, and threatening biodiversity.

It is also poisonous to pets, livestock and people.

However, the Blitz is hitting back by bringing together local and State Government agencies, environmental organisations and private landholders in a coordinated, concerted and sustained effort.

Environmentalist and Nature Conservation board member Ann Ward joined last year's Blitz and encouraged everyone - whether they were part of last year's campaign or not - to get involved.

"It takes a concerted effort, usually one good spray, but once you've done that, it's mostly just spot managing," Dr Ward said.

"We're starting to see wild country regenerate and it's so satisfying to watch everyone's amazing energy have an impact, but the work isn't done yet."

Arum Lily Blitz participants are provided with free herbicide, easy-to-follow instructions, subsidies for recommended contractors and invaluable resources.

Go to natureconservation.org.au to register.