Community groups, Grants

Volunteers keeping Maatsuyker Island weeds in check

Four Friends of Maatsuyker Island (FOMI) Wildcare volunteers conducted weed control and shearwater monitoring on Maatsuyker Island from 30 November to 5 December 2016.

The primary weed task was to treat the invasive environmental weed Montbretia and deal with blackberry and Hebe elliptica if located.  It works well to have a small team on this task with back pack spraying carried out to treat Montbretia.

FOMI’s Shearwater Monitoring Program, run concurrently with the Weed Control Program, includes monitoring shearwater re-colonisation of areas previously infested with weeds. In December 2016, more than 900 burrows were checked to see what percentage contained a short-tailed shearwater nest. The same burrows will be checked in March 2017 to see how many of those nests produced chicks.

In 2004, FOMI began a long-term program that aims to prevent significant impacts of weeds on Maatsuyker Island (Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, TWWHA).  Survey work, weed treatment and monitoring have been performed on a regular basis (at least annually) by FOMI volunteers.  Weed invasion can alter the structure of the island’s unique vegetation and suitability of breeding habitat for the large burrow-nesting seabird populations (including 3 EPBC listed species). Significant infestations of blackberry, a Weed of National Significance (WoNS) as well as invasive environmental weeds including Hebe elliptica and Montbretia were identified on isolated Maatsuyker Island. The long-term weed control program is vital for ongoing restoration and maintenance of vegetation and seabird habitat values on the island.

This year there is an increased focus on improving the efficiency of weed mapping. The new system will enable future involvement of more volunteers in the mapping process. The main aim of the new methodology is electronically recording and accessing data in the field (using Fulcrum app).

The FOMI team were well supported on the island by the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) volunteer caretakers Robyn Mundy and Gary Millar enjoying meals and time together on the beautiful Maatsuyker Island.

For the 2016/17 season, FOMI acknowledge the funding support from NRM South Naturally Inspired Grant Round 9 for the weed control program and a Wildcare Board of Management internal grant for the Shearwater Monitoring program. FOMI also acknowledge the support from PWS for enabling the team to piggy back on helicopters carrying out other operations on Maatsuyker Island and off the South Coast, and the efforts of Heli-Resources to make the best use of resources. This support ensures the work can continue on Maatsuyker Island.

Image above: Volunteers Marina Campbell and Amy Saunders, Montbretia weed control.

Image below: Volunteers Sheryl Hamilton and Jenny Scott, burrowscoping for shearwaters; Macquarie Slopes.

Article and photos credit: Friends of Maatsuyker Island – Wildcare Inc.


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