Posted on 03/12/2015 by Phillip Island Nature Parks
Serrated tussock detected on Phillip Island
The recent discovery of serrated tussock (Nassella trichotoma) on Phillip Island prompted swift action by the Victorian Serrated Tussock Working Party (VSTWP) and Phillip Island Nature Parks. Members of the VSTWP were quickly involved in providing training to Environment Rangers from the Nature Parks in serrated tussock identification and best practice management.
Located in the former Summerlands estate region, the infestation of around 60 plants was discovered by an environmental contractor and immediately reported to Nature Parks staff. This is the first confirmed infestation of serrated tussock recorded on the Island and, if not controlled, has the potential to significantly impact the coastal grasslands ecosystem.
For those unfamiliar with this declared noxious weed, serrated tussock is an introduced grass from South America that is highly invasive and has the capacity to rapidly decrease the biodiversity of native grasslands and seriously reduce the agricultural productivity of properties. Chairman of the VSTWP Peter Lindeman said “It is estimated that over 130,000 hectares of land is infested with serrated tussock across Victoria, but it is promising to see the Nature Parks acting quickly to remove this small infestation before it takes hold”.
Community Engagement Officer from the VSTWP, Ivan Carter, teamed up with staff from the Nature Parks to conduct broad scale surveillance around the known infestation site. “The purpose of the surveillance was to establish the boundaries of the known infestation and to inspect the surrounding area for possible outliers” said Mr Carter. “Park staff were enthusiastic to learn more about best practice management and how to ensure this infestation is eradicated over time” noted Mr Carter.
All serrated tussock plants found at the site were removed by Nature Parks staff prior to seeding and they will continue their surveillance over the coming weeks, to ensure no further serrated tussock infestations exist. Ranger in Charge of Environment, Jarvis Weston, said “Nature Parks staff trained in identification by the VSTWP are now confident of recognizing serrated tussock. It has been great to collaborate with the VSTWP and to learn how menacing serrated tussock can be to agriculture and ecosystems alike”.
To curb the establishment of any new seedlings, the site will be monitored annually by Nature Parks staff. “Phillip Island Nature Parks aims to eradicate this infestation and make certain no further infestations establish across the Island. We really want to be free of serrated tussock to ensure Phillip Island’s unique biodiversity and ecosystems remain intact” concluded Mr Weston.