Cynthia Burton, Conservation Volunteer, Canberra Bushwalking Club
Three Canberra Bushwalking Club (CBC) volunteers were part of a 35 strong, multi-agency, helicopter-assisted, survey team that recently discovered a second significant infestation of the aggressive alpine invader, Mouse-ear Hawkweed (MEHW) (Hieracium pilosella or Pilosella officinarum), on the Main Range of Kosciuszko National Park (KNP). The infestation area was found on a ridge roughly in between the turn-off points to go to Mt Twynam or Watson’s Crags, adjacent to the old 4WD track. The site has been cordoned off and treated, with further monitoring and survey work in adjacent areas to take place in future.
MEHW is considered a Class 1 Noxious Weed by the NSW Government, given its potential severe impacts on Australia’s alpine ecology and the NSW grazing and agricultural industry; it has had a significant impact on pastoral areas in New Zealand’s high country. It was first reported on the Main Range – at Strzelecki Creek – in January 2015 by a bushwalker who had camped at this location. It is believed to have been possibly (unknowingly) introduced to the site by bushwalkers on clothing, boots or camping gear. MEHW also has been previously found in the Falls Creek area of Victoria.
CBC volunteers have been involved in MEHW survey work every summer since January 2015, in partnership with Greening Australia (GA) and the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) through the ‘Alpine Weeds Project’. More recently, CBC volunteers have been joined by NPWS (NSW) volunteers who have been engaged in an ongoing Orange Hawkweed control program in the Jagungal Wilderness Area. ACT Parks rangers also have participated in some surveys.
If you are interested in learning more about, or becoming involved in, this important, fun and rewarding work – though we don’t often get to fly around in helicopters! – please feel free to contact Cynthia at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about both Mouse-ear Hawkweed and Orange Hawkweed, and how to report possible sightings when walking in KNP, please use the following link: http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/resources/pestsweeds/150065HawkweedAlert.pdf
If you are interested in volunteering for the orange hawkweed program, please follow this link: https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/volunteer-activities/hunting-hawkweed