Lily Blitz shows strong results ahead of third year

Michelle Keppel, Genevieve Hanran-Smith and Drew McKenzie from Nature Conservation Margaret River Region. Photo: Taelor Pelusey.
Michelle Keppel, Genevieve Hanran-Smith and Drew McKenzie from Nature Conservation Margaret River Region. Photo: Taelor Pelusey.

Year three of the region-wide Arum Lily Blitz is now underway and is continuing to support landholders in reclaiming land, improving biodiversity and laying groundwork for native habitat to be restored.

The Blitz is once again bringing together local and State Government agencies, environmental organisations and private landholders for a coordinated, concerted and sustained attack on these toxic and prolific weeds.

Supported by $340,360 in funding from the WA Government's State Natural Resource Management Program, the Blitz has so far supported arum lily control across 16,100ha of land and has more than 1020 properties officially registered.

Nature Conservation Margaret River Region Project Officer Genevieve-Hanran Smith said the outstanding results were proof the Blitz was having a positive impact.

"As recently as a few years ago, there was some scepticism about whether we should bother trying to control arum lilies at all," she said.

"A lot of people felt the problem was too big or had gotten too out of hand, but these results demonstrate how big an impact we can have in protecting biodiversity and restoring native habitat."

So far, 479 people have collected free herbicide, 90 landholders have been supported on a cost-share basis and 2300 hours of contractor work has been completed.

Volunteers also did an impressive 436 hours of arum control in the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park last year alone.

Ms Hanran-Smith praised all participants' efforts for reducing arum lily infestations across the region and preventing the introduced species from further spreading.

"Arum lily is one of our most significant threats to biodiversity and can have devastating effects by permanently transforming understoreys and bulldozing through beautiful, diverse vegetation full of shrubs, sedges, orchids and annual herbaceous plants," she said.

"It is toxic, invasive and aggressive, but the Blitz is driving amazing outcomes that can only be achieved through collaboration."

Year three of the Blitz will see Nature Conservation continue working with other stakeholders like the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, the Shire of Augusta Margaret River, City of Busselton, Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association, environmental groups and individuals.

To get involved and to gain access to information, resources and free herbicide, register at www.natureconservation.org.au