Friends of the Porongurup Range

Our aim is to achieve a Porongurup free of declared and environmental weeds   Lisa & Klaus Braun, Project Coordinators    
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Conservation Projects

Photo courtesy Maggie Shanklin Porongurup National Park Scenic Drive

Friends of the Porongurup Conservation Group

Threat to native flora

For many years declared and environmental weeds took hold in the Porongurup National Park and the surrounding area. A number of weed infestations posed a direct threat to natural ecosystems and habitats with the potential to replace native vegetation including the rare, endangered Ornduffia calthifolia  (previously Villarsia calthifolia)  and the vulnerable Apium prostratum subsp Porongurup Range, both of which occur only in the Porongurup Range.

Post fire funding

In 2007, after a major wildfire impacted on the National Park and surrounding area, a partnership was formed between the Friends of the Porongurup Range, the community, Oyster Harbour Catchment Group, Department of Environment and Conservation,  Southcoast Natural Resource Management, Department of Agriculture and Food WA, Pardelup Prison, the Shire of Plantagenet and Main Roads.  Significant funding has been made available by Federal and State Governments to control weed infestations in the National Heritage listed Porongurup National Park and the surrounding area to protect the biodiversity and ecosystems.  

Left: From Manyat Peak (Repeater Hill) looking west-north-west. The service track leads to Woodlands Rd.
Right:  Woodlands Rd heading south. Photos courtesy Bill Shanklin and Maggie Shanklin February 2007

The Friends of Porongurup Conservation Group makes a valuable contribution to the overarching Porongurup weed control project through on-ground work, mapping, coordination and monitoring.

Friends of the Porongurup Range volunteers

The Friends of Porongurup Conservation Group meets regularly throughout the year between 9am and 12 noon followed by a cuppa and lunch. Please see our Calendar of dates and activities. The weeding days are a lot of fun and volunteers contribute greatly to the protection of this botanically rich area. The group carries out weed control in the Porongurup National Park, the Twin Creeks Community Conservation Reserve, as well as in other reserves and road verges. There is a choice of activities including hand weeding, spraying, mapping weeds with GPS/PDA units or operating a chain saw.

Top row left to right:  Bev Stan-Bishop holding up a Dolichos Pea seedling; Lucia Quearry on a mission; Judy O’Neill leading the Friends’ weeding group to control an infestation of Kangaroo Apple below Hayward Peak.

Middle row left to right:  Di Drummond with John Moore Senior Weed Scientist, Department of Agriculture and Food WA, as well as Cassie Bell, student from UWA, Heidi Loncar, South Coast NRM and Lisa Braun monitoring Blackberries in a CSIRO rust release site adjacent to the Porongurup National Park in May 2008;  Lucia Quearry and Bev Stan-Bishop cutting down Silver Wattles (Acacia dealbata) and treating the stumps to prevent re-sprouting;  Peter Form cutting down Silver Wattles.

Bottom row left to right:  John Moore, Charlie Salamon, National Park Ranger, and Lisa Braun; Lisa Braun, Rob Olver and Charlie Salamon spraying Dolichos Pea;  May 2009 Luncheon of the Weeding party.

A weed is a plant in the wrong place

The Porongurup weed control project targets many weeds including Sydney Wattle, Silver Wattle, Watsonia, Gladiolus, Arum Lilies, Kangaroo Apple, Dolichos Pea, Red Valerian, Taylorina, and Dog Rose.  Some weeds are well-loved plants like Agapanthus, Olive trees and Cape Gooseberry that have escaped into sensitive areas from home gardens, old homesteads and properties where weeds are not controlled.  The project also targets the following Weeds of National Significance (WONS). They present a major challenge and it is important to eradicate them:  Blackberry (Rubus spp), Broom Montpellier (Genista monspessulana), Bridal Creeper (Asparagus asparagoides), Gorse (Ulex europaeus), Climbing Asparagus fern (Asparagus scandens), and  Lantana (Lantana camara), Willow (Salix species except S. babylonica, S. calodendron, S. reichardtii). For further information: www.weeds.org.au/docs/WoNS or http://www.weedfutures.net/

From left to right top: Blackberry - Declared Plant (DP) and a Weed of National Significance (WONS); Arum Lilies – in a creek line on Woodlands Road; Agapanthus.
From left to right bottom: Silver Wattle, Red Valerian, DEC Worker in a Dolichos Pea infestation which threatens the endangered Apium prostratum spp Porongurup Range and other native species. The last photo courtesy of Sarah Barrett 8th October 2005 

To control and eradicate weeds takes time, effort, vigilance and funding.  A lot of work has already been carried out and many of the major infestations have been contained. However much more needs to be done.  Through the combined effort of the Friends of the Porongurup Range, Oyster Harbour Catchment Group - www.ohcg.org.au, Department of Parks and Wildlife, landowners and volunteers, the weeds in the Porongurup National Park and surrounding area can be eradicated over time.

The Friends of the Porongurup Conservation Group Coordinator: Lisa Braun 9853 2170 or lbraun@icsgroup.com.au


Roadside Conservation

The Plantagenet Roadside Conservation Group was formed in association with the Friends of the Porongurup Range as a result of the Shire’s intention to widen Millinup Rd without a clearing permit. This action threatened to destroy high conservation value vegetation on the scenic northwestern sections of the road. The Group’s aim is to encourage the Shire and other agencies such as Main Roads WA, Western Power and Telstra to formulate balanced solutions for roadside management.

The founding members of the committee included a school teacher with a passion for native flora and fauna, a town planner who witnessed illegal clearing on a nearby road verge, an ex-forester who objected to the unnecessary destruction of fine old trees with inappropriate equipment, and a publisher/photographer who agreed to document existing vegetation. Other helpers advised along the way: a wildflower specialist, a tourism operator, and a retired developer who had spent a lifetime trying to protect and reintroduce trees in the urban environment

Why bother with verges?

Road verges may contain a variety of native flora and fauna including threatened species and outliers or they may be a haven for small fauna as well as nesting and roosting places for birds and may provide migration linkages between larger blocks of remnant vegetation.

Aesthetics

Not all rural roads need to be designed for high speed traffic or heavy haulage vehicles. There is a case for some roadside verges to retain charm, beauty, native vegetation and a variety of wildflowers offering, bush walkers, hikers, tourists and the community a memorable experience without compromising safe access for agricultural requirements.

Flora Roads Program          

The Flora Roads program is an initiative of the Roadside Conservation Committee, Department of Parks and Wildlife, to encourage road managers to protect and conserve roadside vegetation of high conservation value. http://www.dpaw.wa.gov.au/management/off-reserve-conservation/roadside-conservation

Four roads in the Shire of Plantagenet are declared as Flora Roads, highlighting their special scenic and conservation value: Millinup Road, Mira Flores Avenue, Woogenellup North Road and Reynolds Rd.

Jarrah and marri vegetation along Millinup Rd, which adjoins Porongurup National Park in places,  supports threatened flora and numerous grass trees. Mira Flores Avenue is a cul de sac road (approximately 1.3km in length) with a diverse range of local native species.

Woogenellup North Road features mallee vegetation in diverse, good condition; the road also boasts spectacular views of the Stirling Range National Park. Reynolds Road features robust specimens of  jarrah, marri and banksia vegetation as well as views to the Porongurup Range National Park.
 

Mira Flores Road Millinup Road
Mira Flores Avenue Millinup Road
Woogenellup Rd Reynolds Road
Woogenellup North Road Reynolds Road



What can you do to help?

The Plantagenet Roadside Conservation Group in partnership with the Friends of the Porongurup Range, aim to work together with the Shire and local community to manage significant rural road verges and preserve native trees, shrubs and ground covers where practicable. There is still much work for the voluntary members of the Plantagenet Roadside Conservation Group.

 
 
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