National Threatened Species Day brings attention to weed threat

Raine the Detector Dog.jpg

Indigo Shire is marking national Threatened Species Day (7 September) by raising awareness about the importance of protecting our vulnerable flora and fauna.

While the focus often lies on endangered species, Council is highlighting the menace posed by Serrated Tussock (Nassella trichotoma), a noxious weed that poses a significant risk to the Shire’s precious native vegetation on roadsides and agricultural production. Serrated Tussock is classified as a regionally prohibited weed and a weed of national significance (WONS).

Mayor Sophie Price says thankfully, Council is at the forefront of managing the weed, thanks to a long-term collaborative effort involving local communities, Agriculture Victoria, Council, and specialist weed contractors.

“As a result of these ongoing efforts and the implementation of effective weed treatment programs, we are witnessing a substantial reduction in the number of Serrated Tussock plants across various sites, particularly in the Rutherglen area,” Cr Price said.

Active sites include Gooramadda Road, Gold Battery Reserve, Pearce’s Road, and Great Northern Road. Inactive sites, where Serrated Tussock was recorded but has not been seen for 3-10 years, are continuously monitored by Agriculture Victoria and can be found in multiple locations around Rutherglen.

Joining the fight against Serrated Tussock, is Raine, a working line German Shepherd dog, who has undergone extensive specialist training with her owner, Trish Cavarra from FOUR paws K9 training, to detect the weed through her remarkable sense of smell.

Contractor, G&T Weed Management and co-owner of Raine, Gavin Snowdon says he’s extremely proud of her development as a detector dog and the amazing work she is doing to protect our beautiful environment.

Cr Price says September is the flowering season, which provides a good opportunity to identify and eliminate Serrated Tussock before it sets seed, typically in October. “By taking action during this crucial period, we can prevent the further spread of this invasive weed and protect our native flora from its detrimental effects.”

Check out Raine in action

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