The Managing Established Pest Animals and Weeds (MEPAAW) project, was a component of a broader state-wide Established Pest Animals and Weeds initiative program managed by NSW Department of Primary Industries. The MEPAAW project saw Landcare NSW working with Landcare groups and networks across NSW to facilitate the delivery of workshops and activities aimed at increasing landholder uptake of best practice management of invasive species.
WMLIG worked with the Murray Local Land Services to provide landholders with tools to identify, control and contain pest and weed incursions from spreading and convey biosecurity responsibilities.
Two workshops were held in 2019 at the WoodLeigh Woolshed at Gonn and at the Dhuragoon Fire Shed on the 23rd - 24th of September. These workshops were designed as a networking opportunity between landholders, local and state government agencies and industry representatives. The two events were attended by 41 people and reached 1500 people. Target species within the Murray Regional Strategic Pest Animal Management Plan were the focus of discussion, including: Deer, Pigs, Fox Galenia, Silver Leaf Nightshade, Arrow Head and Box Thorns.
It was identified that landholders wanted to learn more about the increasing pest population, especially with the recent media on African Swine Fever. Presentations covered: the feral pest population in State Forests and National Parks, current control measures being enacted and future plans; disease risk from deer and pigs; landholder biosecurity responsibilities; identifying, monitoring and reporting pest species using tools such as 'WeedWise' and 'Feral Scan'; and the importance of coordinated, co-operative control by working with neighbours to manage pests. Presenters included John Nolan (Regional Pest Animal Coordinator), Scott Ison/Linda Searle (District Vet) and Stephen Battenally (Biosecurity Officer). Attendees were particularly interested in methods of pig control using free feeding gain prior to the poison being laid to improve the hit rate. Prior to attending these workshops 54% of participants described themselves as having 'some' knowledge of invasive species management and 64% described themselves as having some confidence to undertake invasive species management. After the workshops 75% of participants felt they had 'a lot' of knowledge and 69% felt they had a lot of confidence to undertake invasive species management. Please note: From September 6th 2019, a NSW Game Hunting licence is no longer required when hunting wild deer on private land. Individuals seeking to hunt deer must have permission to hunt deer from the landholder or manager as well as a current firearms licence.