Local governments play vital role in Arum Lily fight

Merryn Delaney from the Shire of Augusta Margaret River and Kay Lehman from the City of Busselton
Merryn Delaney from the Shire of Augusta Margaret River and Kay Lehman from the City of Busselton

Local governments are playing an active role in restoring the region's biodiversity and protecting native habitat through their involvement in a region-wide arum lily control program.

The Shire of Augusta Margaret River and City of Busselton have been key players in the State Natural Resource Management Program-funded Arum Lily Blitz since the program's inception in 2019.

Nature Conservation Margaret River Region project officer Genevieve Hanran-Smith said the two local governments' support had been crucial to the program's success.

"The Blitz is a coordinated approach to arum lily control across all land tenures in the Capes region," she said.

"We're now entering year three of the program and already experiencing great successes.

"But none of this would have been possible without the valuable support and active participation from the Shire of Augusta Margaret River and City of Busselton."

There is more awareness in the community that this is a serious environmental weed and there's more willingness from landholders to do their bit. This has been made easy with the availability of free chemicals and clear control instructions.

Merryn Delaney, AMR Shire

The two local governments help coordinate arum lily control across the landscape on reserves and roadsides and encourage ratepayers to register for the Blitz, which complements previous and ongoing weed control by both municipalities.

Shire of Augusta Margaret River Senior Environmental Officer, Merryn Delaney said the Shire had been active in arum control for many years, but the Blitz's strength was in its coordinated approach.

"Throughout the Blitz, the number of enquiries we receive from people wanting to control arum lily has definitely increased," she said.

"There is more awareness in the community that this is a serious environmental weed and there's more willingness from landholders to do their bit. This has been made easy with the availability of free chemicals and clear control instructions."

The Shire has been undertaking weed control along roadsides within Shire reserves, with a strong focus this year along the Wadandi trail and areas close to landholders participating in the Blitz.

Similarly, the City of Busselton has been targeting landholders near high-value environmental assets, like Meelup Regional Park.

It is also continuing weed control on bushland reserves, urban reserves, road reserves and creek lines. Last year the City undertook arum lily control in the Broadwater wetland area in collaboration with the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA).

City of Busselton Environmental Management Officer, Kay Lehman said the City was encouraged by the number of people registering to take part in the Blitz and urged more people to sign up.

"The Arum Lily Blitz has been a well-coordinated program which has certainly gained momentum over the last three years," she said.

"It would be great to see more landholders within the City joining the program because a sustained effort on the control of arum lilies across the region is essential to have a lasting impact."

With $340,360 in funding from the WA Government's State Natural Resource Management Program, the Arum Lily Blitz has been bringing together agencies, environmental organisations and private landholders since 2019.

It is a coordinated, concerted and sustained push aimed at controlling this toxic weed and is spearheaded by Nature Conservation Margaret River Region and DBCA.

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