Addressing the dieback issue
South Coast NRM Project Dieback officer Robyn Cail inspects some banksias that were killed by Phytophthora dieback near Esperance.

A state management and investment strategy will be developed following the single biggest financial investment dedicated to the control and containment of phytophthora dieback on the south coast.

Having been awarded the $3 million State Government funding package, South Coast NRM will use the funding to identify the State’s top 100 priority areas for protection based on significant conservation values, disease status and level of dieback threat.

This prioritisation will build on the NRM Regional planning process developed by Project Dieback in 2009.

Outgoing South Coast NRM chief executive officer Rob Edkins said the funding could not have come at a better time.

“Not only does this show the State Government is taking the threat of dieback seriously, this significant amount of funding will give South Coast NRM and its partners the opportunity to put into place a long-lasting plan to control the pathogen,” Mr Edkins said.

“Although areas of natural beauty such as the Fitzgerald River National Park are largely dieback free, its native vegetation is vulnerable to the introduction of dieback on a large scale.”

The funding will allow South Coast NRM and its environmental partners the DEC, the Dieback Working Group, Murdoch University’s Centre for Phytophthora Management and the Fitzgerald Biosphere Group, to prevent new infiltrations of the pathogen.

It will also allow them to eradicate spot infestations in areas rich in biodiversity, including Fitzgerald River National Park, the Walpole Wilderness area, Stokes National Park and Lesueur National Park.

Out of the South West’s 8000 native plant species, around 1800 of these exist in Fitzgerald River National Park, 40 per cent of which are thought to be susceptible to dieback.

In 2008, Project Dieback reported one million hectares of remnant vegetation in the South West was infested with dieback and a further million were potentially under threat.

tim.edmunds@albanyadvertiser.com

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