Natural Resource Management

Tasmanian Northern Midlands has a dry subhumid cool inland lowland which lies in the Tamar graben - an extensive plain bordered in the east and west by hilly topography developed on Jurassic and Tertiary igneous rocks and Permian mudstone.

Soils of the Northern Midlands are diverse and predominantly sandy, supporting a long history of agriculture, with some forestry. The region’s extensive grazing lands are renowned for fine wool production, while the fertile river flats generate a range of high quality produce.

The region also supports a divers range vegetation communities including rare and threatened flora and fauna. Almost 700 plants species have been identified growing in the Northern Midlands, representing nearly 30% of Tasmanian flora. Extensive natural grassy plain were common along the valley river flats and formed the heart of the Midlands. Today less than 15% of these lowland grasslands remain in good condition. Some extensive remnants form an important pastoral resource, with over half of the sheep in Tasmania grazing native pastures. Native grasslands are among the richest vegetation types in Tasmania.

Quaternary sands and alluvium carry Eucalyptus viminalis, E. pauciflora and E. ovata open forest and woodland, while Tertiary deposits are vegetated by E. amygdalina open forest and woodland. Permian mudstone and Tertiary basalt line the major fault-controlled river valleys.

The Northern Midlands Municipality is located in one of Tasmania’s lowest rainfall regions making water a valuable and sometimes scarce natural resource. Surface water resources include lakes, wetlands, lagoons, streams and rivers. The boundaries of the Municipality include the Brumbys – Lake Catchment, Macquarie Catchment which both drain into the larger South Esk Basin. There are over 200 named creeks and rivers within the region, major Rivers of the South Esk include; Nile, Elizabeth, Lake, and St Pauls.

Some of the rarest species in the Midlands are found in association with wetlands. Over 600 wetland areas have been identified within the area. Wetlands act as a breeding ground for many species of fish, waterbirds, amphibians and insects and are an important stopover points for migratory birds. Wetlands also provide a natural filtering system improving water quality. Less than 30% of the Midlands wetlands now remain and they are a conservation priority. Twelve are listed in the Directory of the Important Wetlands in Australia and ten wetlands of regional significance have been identified.

What is Natural Resource Management?

The term natural resources refers to a broad spectrum of ‘environmental assets’. These include air, water, land, plants, animals and micro-organisms. Individual assets are not isolated, however: they are linked together to form natural systems of varying scale such as rivers, lakes and wetlands, estuaries and coasts, forests, fields, geological systems and resources, and mountains.

Natural resource management reflects these linkages within and between natural systems. It integrates the management of social, economic and environmental values by involving the community and industry in planning and decision making.

Natural resource management is fundamentally about people. The success of natural resource management is ultimately determined by the level of community involvement and the adoption of ecologically sustainable practices across the community.

Natural Resource Management in Australia

Natural Resource Management has been fostered and developed in Australia over the past two decades by a number of Government programs, both Commonwealth and State, and through regional and local initiatives.

Funding assistance and support has been directed to hundreds of natural resource management projects and has encouraged broad community involvement: marshalling the commitment of community groups, land holders and land managers, all three tiers of government, as well as bodies dedicated to NRM program delivery.

Natural Resource Management (NRM) describes the sustainable management of our natural resources (our land, water, marine and biological systems). The sustainable management of natural resources is vital if we are to ensure our ongoing social, economic and environmental wellbeing.

Natural Resource Management (NRM) services are provided by Northern Midlands Council through a partnership with NRM North, the Regional NRM Organisation for Northern Tasmania.

This partnership has provided a Natural Resource Management Facilitator that is based in Longford to assist the Community.

These services take the form of:

  • support for community groups who undertake environmental activities eg Tasmanian Landcare Association;
  • property management planning (delivered via NRM North);
  • support for landholders who wish to undertake natural resource management activities such as fencing of creeks and remnant bush, revegetation and weed control;
  • advice to new landholders who wish to find out more about the environmental aspects of their land;
  • environmental monitoring; and
  • community education.

Publications

Weed Action Plan, Northern Natural Resource Management Region, Tasmania

Download the Northern Midlands Weed Action Plan here.

Contact

Natural Resource Managment North
Launceston
Ph (03) 6333 7777
admin@nrmnorth.org.au


Weed Management
Declared Weeds and their Control Status within the Northern Midlands

Please find herein a list of Declared Weeds and their control status within the Northern Midlands

“Zone B” includes those Tasmanian municipalities for which containment of the declared weed is the principal management objective. Such municipalities host large, widespread infestations of the declared weed that are not deemed eradicable because the feasibility of effective management is low at this time. Within the municipality the spread of gorse must be prevented:
• Where a Zone B property shares boundary with a Zone A property.
• Where a Zone B infested property shares a boundary with any un - infested property within Zone B.
• To any individual or group of properties that have developed and are implementing a local integrated Management Plan.
• To any property where a zone be weed is impacting upon any community of flora or fauna listed under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and/or the Tasmanian Threatened Species Protection Act 1995.

“Zone A” includes those Tasmanian municipalities for which eradication of a declared weed is the principal management objective. These municipalities are either free of the declared weed, host only small, isolated infestations, or host larger infestations which are deemed eradicable because a strategic management plan exists and the resources required to implement it have been or are likely to be secured. The ultimate management outcome for Zone A is achieving and maintaining the total absence of Zone A from within municipal boundaries.

Environmental Weeds

Please find below a list of Northern Midlands Environmental Weeds.

Weeds that invade bushland and threaten native plants by out-competing them are known as environmental weeds. The result can be the death of these native plants and often the animals, birds, insects and other creatures that depend upon them. This loss can in turn cause further declines in local biodiversity - the unique variety of living things around us, and upon which we depend.

For further information on Management and Control please go to the DPIPWE website.

To speak to someone further about declared or environmental weeds, please contact:

Invasive Species Branch on: Regional Invasive Species Officer on 1300 368 550

Weeds Coordinator
Greg Stewart
Phone: 03 6333 7778
Mobile: 0429 365 003
gstewart@nrmnorth.org.au

Broad Leaf Weeds or Flat Weeds

Spring onto flat weeds this September
At this time of year, broad leaf weeds or flat weeds in lawns can be a real nuisance. Marshmallow, dandelion, cat’s ear, lamb’s tongue, chickweed, plantain, fleabane and dock are some of the common broadleaf weeds to be found. Broadleaf weeds usually have wide, hairy leaves that generally hug the ground. Active growth varies between summer and winter weeds, and weeds which are perennials (weeds that don’t die after one growing season and become dormant at certain times of the year). Examples of winter perennials are white clover and dandelion. Some examples of summer perennials are dock and plantain. The best time to control winter broadleaf weeds is in autumn and for summer broadleaf weeds is in spring. It is important to note that it is easier to control small, actively growing weeds than mature weeds that are starting to produce seed.

There are well known commercial herbicides available for the treatment of these unwanted plants. But for those who are looking for some alternative control methods that maybe suitable for your situation:

Weed Sand
Lawn sand recipe. It’s simple, cheap, effective and safe to use. The ingredients for lawn sand are readily available at any hardware store or garden centre. The ingredients include: dry washed sand, sulphate of potash and iron sulphate. . wear gloves because the iron sulphate can make your hands rusty. Use plastic for mixing and measuring because it can be washed after use. Mix the ingredients in equal proportions = one cup of washed sand, one cup of sulphate of potash or sulphate of ammonia and one cup of the iron sulphate, and mix these up immediately as it doesn’t store well.

Lawn sand is handy for controlling a variety of weeds in the lawn. It's especially good for attacking cudweed, white clover, cats ear and plantain. Sprinkle directly onto the weeds. It's best to apply just before dew fall which will activate the mix, or mist hose the treated areas to start the process. To control all weeds repeat this operation every other week. 

Lawn sand won't kill narrow leaf weeds like onion weed or winter grass, or waxy leaf weeds like some types of oxalis. 

If the mix comes in contact with flowers or footpaths, wash it off with water immediately. Keep a watering can nearby when applying. If pets or children want to use the garden, water the lawn sand in the following morning. As soon as it's dry, it's safe for them to go into the garden. Iron sulphate can stain clothes and skin, so always wash hands after use. 

The objective is to complete the task before the weeds are setting seed and starting another generation. The end result to aim for is a lush, thick sward of grass that helps to stifle weeds.

Weed Tea
In a large plastic bin combine a layer of organic pellets or chicken manure, which will help to start the decomposing process of the added weeds. Add water and put on the lid. Weeds will breakdown in two or three weeks in summer, but in winter it may take two or three months. It can be then used as a nutrient tea on productive or ornamental plants.

Pickle Them
Acetic acid is what makes vinegar a weed killer. Actually, it makes vinegar a plant killer. Acetic acid, from any source, will kill most vegetation because it draws all the moisture out of the leaf. It is non-selective, meaning it might kill everything it touches. This limits the usefulness of a vinegar weed killer, to the extent that you are able to control overspray that would get on desirable plants.

A 5-percent concentration of vinegar, similar to that found in household vinegar, is an effective weed killer against annual and perennial weeds (Some reports only support success with annuals) such as dandelion and thistle . When applied to the weed foliage, the acid in the vinegar acts as a contact herbicide that kills the plants but does not persist in the soil or cause water or other pollution. For older perennial weeds, you may need to apply vinegar more than once. Try heating the vinegar for added punch.

Some plants are not as susceptible to vinegar. A waxy coating or a “hairy” (fuzzy) surface may interfere with the absorption of the vinegar. This is the type that would suffer more by adding the soap to a vinegar weed killer recipe.

Vinegar would lower the pH of the soil, making it more acidic. This could be good if your soil is alkaline, not so good if it is already acidic. 

Poach Them
As a low tech weed control, pour boiling water over them. The neighbours might think you're crazy, but in 2 or 3 days the plants will look like a herd of buffalo have been over them. This method is especially useful for paving cracks if all the plants between the pavers are weeds. However, if you've got a large area, the best way to control them is to smother them. This is also known as solarisation.

Like all weeds, long term success in treating your weed problem is dependent on follow up and maintenance regardless of your preferred method to extinguish the seed bank. 

A weed free municipality starts in our own backyard.

Cape Weed

Lots of people are concerned about Cape Weed. The cornerstone to the eradication of Cape Weed as with any weed is to stop the seed cycle. The survival of capeweed seed in the soil is likely to be very strongly influenced by the location, degree of burial and the degree of regional adaptation. A West Australian DPI report suggests seed bank life of up to seven years but they also say that it may be as little as one to two years. With one viable capeweed plant producing up to 4330 seeds under favourable conditions; it’s worth getting onto it early. Seeds may be dispersed by human activity, animals, wind and water. Knowing the seed bank lifespan gives you some indication of how long it is likely to take to eradicate the infestation. Another chief factor that requires attention when addressing cape weed is low ph. Low ph is commonly treated with lime; for specific application advice seek out your favourite horticultural advisor ie local nursery - lime needs should be determined by a soil test.

NOTE: Correcting soil where you've added too much lime, can be very difficult and takes a very long time.

CONTROL:
Don’t rely on one attempt at removal – follow-up is essential. This is true no matter what control method you choose, whether physical or chemical. For example inversion of capeweed through ploughing to deep bury the seed will give somewhere between 50 and 98% control (WA Dept Ag) and there are similar variations in effectiveness for various herbicide applications. Clearly a lot depends on how well you do the job, but even if you achieve the best possible result you should expect some survivors and that means you need to have a plan to follow up.

In pasture herbicide control is only a short term solution; unless vigorous competition is established to compete with the capeweed, the weed is likely to re-establish. The best way to deal with this weed is to establish and maintain a dense competitive pasture. This will require attention to both fertility and grazing management.

Spray Grazing - The most common approach to controlling capeweed in old established pastures is to apply a sub lethal dose of a selective broadleaf herbicide followed by very heavy grazing. The technique, commonly known as spray grazing or pasture topping, is widely used with a high degree of success on capeweed throughout Victoria. It is best used 6 - 8 weeks after the autumn break and once the legumes have at least three true leaves. Over grazing must be avoided, however, by late summer – early autumn, dry pasture from the previous spring should be grazed well down to encourage germination of sub clover after the autumn break and uniform flowering of capeweed. Be aware that a false break in autumn will favour capeweed against your pasture as its drought hardy nature allows it to germinate and prosper better than most pasture species. This is a big reason we see so much capeweed.

Other Integrated Control methods for smaller infestations include:

Solarisation – this method is the process of excluding light and water from the plants, using materials such as old carpet, or black plastic weighted down– to be effective requires rapid revegetation, to outcompete new seedlings.

For further control advice please visit:
Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment

Herbicides - Capeweed can develop resistance to herbicides. In Victoria it has developed resistance to diquat and paraquat. Herbicide control is only a short term solution; unless a vigorous sward is established to compete with the capeweed, the weed is likely to re-establish. Spraying is most effective if done when the weeds are young and actively growing. There is little point in spraying where there are very few or no pasture plants to take the place of the weeds.

For further chemical control advice specific for Tasmania please go to:
Herbicides for Capeweed Control

Paterson's Curse

Paterson’s Curse is an invasive plant introduced to Australia. Due to a high concentration of pyrrolizidine alkaloids it is poisonous to grazing livestock, especially those with a simple digestive system like horses. The toxins are cumulative in the liver and death results from too much Paterson's curse in the diet.

Paterson’s curse in Northern Midlands is legislated as a Zone A with the attached eradicable status with the ultimate management outcome for this municipality is to achieve and maintain a total absence of Paterson’s curse. All infestations are of highest treatment priority; new infestations should be reported to your nearest DPIPWE regional weed officer or Local Council.

Actions to assist in this matter by persons or organisations upon whose properties Paterson’s curse occurs could include but are not limited to the following:

  • Control of the plant, with the aim of preventing spread to neighbouring properties, within 50 metres of waterways, drainage lines, roadways and other transport corridors..
  • Seek cooperation with neighbouring property owners when Paterson’s curse control measures are being planned or implemented.
  • arranging on-site quarantine for, or not bringing or allowing onto the property livestock, agricultural produce, vehicles, machinery, soil, gravel, lime or other such material that may be contaminated with Paterson’s curse.
  • Persons performing contract work or other visits in areas or properties infested with Paterson’s curse should undertake appropriate hygiene measures. These include thorough visual checks upon clothing, footwear, vehicles and machinery and, cleaning of the same, prior to leaving the infested property.

Paterson's Curse (Echium plantaginuem L.) is an annual herb, it has several erect stems that arise from a stout taproot and large rosette of leaves at the base of the plant. It is distinguished by its stems and leaves are covered in hairs that can cause skin irritation if touched. The rosette leaves grow up to 30 cm long and up to 8 cm wide, have a stalk and are oval to oblong in shape. The stem leaves are narrower and smaller than the rosette leaves and are stalkless or stem-clasping. Flowers in caterpillar-like curved spikes; funnel-shaped flowers, usually purple but also blue or pink, less often white and unevenly lobed. Fruit consists of small three sided nutlike pods; the seeds are dark brown to grey, 2-3 mm long and rough on the outside. Up to four seeds are produced from each flower.

Seedlings appear in autumn and one or several flowering stems are produced in late winter and flowering occurs in spring.
A Regional Weed Management Officer may be contacted for advice on, control planning, keeping areas free of Paterson’s curse, destruction or transportation of contaminated material. For herbicide control advice please go to:

Herbicides for Paterson's Curse - Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment

Further information can be found at:

Department of Primary Industries, Park, Water and Environment

Serrated Tussock

‘..An ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure... and swift action can pay handsomely. It is vital that we locate every serrated tussock infestation and for that we need your assistance. If you suspect serrated tussock call the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment. Your regional weed management officer can be contacted on 1300 368 550.

Why is it important to find serrated tussock?

Serrated tussock will dominate a native pasture if allowed to and can tolerate a wide range of environments allowing it to infest and ruin good native pasture and rough run country alike. It has ruined many thousands of hectares of land on mainland Australia. The grass is unpalatable to stock and wildlife which reduces needed competition. Because the grass has no nutritional value, stock grazing on it will use energy to digest it, fail to thrive and potentially starve. It’s seed can spread on the wind for several kilometres. Serrated tussock is a Weed of National Significance and a declared weed in Tasmania.

How to identify serrated tussock:

  • the base of the plant has no pink or purple in the section closest to the ground (root base);
  • each plant produces up to 100,000 tiny flowers that each have a red-brown casing;
  • in flower these give the plant a purplish appearance very different from native tussocks;
  • the flowering head is broad and open with multiple branches on a slender stalk;
  • early season branches are erect, but later when mature heads droop to touch the ground; and
  • as pastures dry out serrated tussock retains a more fluorescent green colour with bleached, straw coloured tips.
Pampas Grass

Pampas grasses are large, vigorous, perennial tussock grasses belonging to the Poaceae family. They are hardy plants and are capable of growing in a range of situations.

Pampas were originally introduced to Tasmania as shelter belt plants on farms and as ornamentals in parks and gardens. Initially the plants were considered to be “sterile” as plants were female only. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case, as other plants were introduced at later dates that produce fertile seed.

Three pampas grass species have naturalised in Tasmania. Common pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana) and pink pampas grass (C. jubata) are found across Tasmania while New Zealand pampas grass (C. richardii) is only known to have naturalised in the west of the state.

Pampas is a highly invasive species in Tasmania. All pampas grasses are “Declared Weeds” under the Weed Management Act 1999. This means that land owners with pampas grass on their property have a legal obligation to eradicate the plants.

Pampas grasses produce large showy seed heads which easily distinguish them from other plants. They are prolific seed producers and seeds can blow on the wind for distances up to 20 kilometres. Pampas grasses reproduce mainly from seed although movement of material by dumping of seed heads, removed plants and garden waste can also result in the spread of the plant.

The key to preventing pampas grass from spreading is to not allow the plants to produce seed. Prior to any treatment, all seed heads should be removed, securely bagged and then deep buried.

Control of pampas grass is quite easy. They can be physically removed with small plants able to be manually removed and larger plants either manually or mechanically removed.

Herbicide control is very effective, with several glyphosate products being registered for controlling pampas grass in Tasmania. When using herbicide, the product should always be applied in accordance with the label directions.

Pampas grasses cause a significant environmental and economic threat to Tasmania. Additional information on Pampas Grass can be found at the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment's website.

For further information or to report any pampas grass locations contact NRM North.


Meadow Parsley (Oenanthe pimpinelloides)

The Invasive Species Branch has confirmed the presence of meadow parsley in Tasmania. The following information is provided to keep stakeholders informed and encourage community involvement in responding to the threat.

SITUATION:
The Invasive Species Branch has confirmed the presence of meadow parsley in northern Tasmania. Meadow parsley has not previously been identified in Tasmania and is a target for eradication in the state. It is a declared weed in Tasmania under the Weed Management Act 1999 and the importation, sale and distribution of meadow parsley are prohibited in Tasmania.

Meadow parsley, which is also known as ‘water dropwort’, is a serious weed of pastures and plantation forests. It has been identified as one of seventeen sleeper weeds that have the potential for nationally significant impacts on agriculture if allowed to spread.

The Invasive Species Branch has been working with affected landholders to manage those areas where meadow parsley has been identified. All members of the Tasmanian community are asked to remain alert and report any plants that could be meadow parsley.

AFFECTED LOCATIONS:
This information is of a general nature for all members of the Tasmanian community.

IDENTIFICATION:

• Erect perennial (long-lived) herb growing between 30 cm and 1.5 m tall
• Produces a whorl of leaves close to the ground (rosette) with a solid strongly grooved stem
• Has two types of leaves: rosette leaves which look similar to parsley and stem leaves which look similar to fennel
• Flowers are small, white and arranged in umbrella-shaped flower heads at the ends of branches
• Root mass has one or more ovoid (oval-shaped) tubers (whereas similar plants have no tubers)

Meadow parsley produces a flowering stem in spring which remains leafless until summer. Flowering occurs in late spring to summer. Seeds germinate in autumn.

Spread is by seed and root tubers along the roots. The seeds are hooked and are spread on the coats of animals, in water, in contaminated fodder and on machinery.

Meadow parsley may be confused with yarrow Achillea millefolium (identified by large, feathery leaves) and hemlock Conium maculate (identified by carrot-like leaves and a blotchy stem).

Further information: Meadow parsley description

HOW YOU CAN HELP:
If you locate meadow parsley anywhere in Tasmania, or if you find a plant that you think could be meadow parsley, contact your Regional Invasive Species Officer on 1300 368 550 to report this weed. If possible, take a photo of the plant or collect the plant in a sealed plastic bag (include the rosette leaf, flower head and roots/tubers, if possible) and supply this as well.

One of the most common ways weeds are spread is via mobile machinery, equipment and vehicles. Everyone should make themselves aware of weed hygiene measures and take steps to minimise weed spread.

Further information: Weed hygiene guidelines

Visit the Invasive Species Branch website for information about declared weeds and weed management in Tasmania.
W: http://dpipwe.tas.gov.au/invasive-species/weeds

Contact the Invasive Species Branch for further information about the meadow parsley response.
T: 03 6336 5320
E: invasivespecies@dpipwe.tas.gov.au

If you find a plant that you think could be meadow parsley, please contact your Regional Invasive Species Officer on 1300 368 550 to report this weed.

Home Energy Audit Kit

The Home Energy Audit Toolkits (HEAT) have been developed through the Southern Tasmanian Regional Authorities (STCA) Regional Climate Change Initiative (RCCI) by the Hobart City Council.

The Toolkits allow households to undertake their own home energy audits in their own time and space and are considered a complimentary measure to available home energy audit services and programs. 

It is expected that households who undertake their own energy audit using the toolkit will gain a deeper understanding of how their homes use energy that will lead to lasting behaviour change. 

HEAT emphasises and specifically deals with household energy efficiency so as to engage the households that may be polarised around the issue of climate change.

Northern Midlands Council has two kits available to loan. To register your interest in loaning the equipment please contact Council's Customer Service Team on (03) 6397 7303.

You and Your Environment

There are a variety of organisations and groups which you can participate in looking after your environment through your local community:

  • Nile River Catchment / Landcare Group: Contact Andrew Cameron, phone: (03) 6398 6264
  • Perth / Evandale Rural Landcare Group: Contact Gwendolyn Adams, phone: (03) 6398 2203