Recently we had the opportunity to trial a tracked Bobcat mulcher as part of an integrated approach for treating dense weed infestations along Sunday Creekline on Yourka Reserve. This mechanical method complements the use of fire to provide access for follow up herbicide control of lantana and siam weed threatening the health of riparian areas on the property and further down the Herbert River catchment.
Invitations were sent out to other local agencies and land managers, giving others the opportunity to see the machine work and consider its suitability for other conservation and restoration projects across the region.
A group of 12 came together from diverse backgrounds and occupations including our local Queensland Parks and Wildlife Resource Ranger, Tablelands Regional Council, Department of Primary Industries Biosecurity, members of the Johnstone Ecological Society (Innisfail) as well as TREAT (Trees for the Atherton and Evelyn Tablelands), a weed contractor, two fire ecologists and a local wildlife tour operator.
Cameras rolled and conversation flowed as 3m high lantana was reduced to splintered sticks and ankle-high mulch in a matter of minutes.
Over lunch we shared our lessons learned from more than six-and-a-half years of broad-scale weed and fire management on the Reserve. For those new to Bush Heritage we also answered eager questions about the organisation and private conservation.
Two attendees had been involved with siam control on Yourka for over a decade and were extremely complimentary of the progress that's been made since acquisition by Bush Heritage.
Following the field day we received some very positive feedback including this email from Rob and Margaret Saunders of the Johnstone Ecological Society:
"What a great day we had yesterday at your field demonstration of the Skidsteer machine that tackled the lantana infestations. It certainly was impressive to watch it operate and recognise just how much was cleared in a very short time. A man with a brushcutter would have taken all day (and been scratched to blazes to boot).
The machine is so manoeuvrable and quick, yet is powerful enough to make short work of what is a huge job. Your whole weed eradication regime is systematic and impressive. All visitors were very interested and enthusiastic about what can be achieved.
During the yummy lunch, your presentation showing charts and graphs was also very informative. You can both be congratulated on what you've achieved so far.
Thank-you for the opportunity to check out the great Bush Heritage property and see your good work to date.
Regards. Rob and Margaret Saunders."