‘Alien weed’ brazilian pepper taking over at Lake Richmond and Point Peron


Geoff Barritt on the edge of a large patch of brazilian pepper trees. It used to be mainly wattle trees.
Geoff Barritt on the edge of a large patch of brazilian pepper trees. It used to be mainly wattle trees.

LIKENING it to an alien weed strangling the life out of everything in its path, a local resident warns the brazilian pepper is spreading exponentially.

It is listed as a permitted plant with the Agriculture Department of WA.

He is mainly concerned with its spread around Lake Richmond and Point Peron.

He said its damage is visible and could threaten the already critically endangered thrombolites at Lake Richmond.

“It could also harm other bush reserves all in a very short period of time – a few years,” he said.

Mr Barritt had lobbied all the stakeholders responsible for the area, including the City of Rockingham, WaterCorp, Department of Parks and Wildlife, Environment Minister Stephen Dawson, WaterCorp, Defence Housing Australia and Landcorp.

“It is very hard to eradicate once established, there are methods but it will keep coming back for years before it is fully destroyed,” he said.

“The cost of controlling this terrible invasive alien will eventually overwhelm government budgets if not brought under control now.

“The City has made an excellent start and DPaW on their land only; but more needs to be done.”

City of Rockingham Mayor Barry Sammels said the City had increased its focus on treating problem trees.

“Yes, we received emails from Mr Barritt and met with him onsite to discuss concerns,” he said.

“Officers are aware of the need to manage the trees and their potential to spread if not adequately maintained.”

“The City has a local law for pest plants titled the City of Rockingham Pest Plants Local Law 2000. Schinusterebinthifolius – Brazilian pepper tree – is one of the pest weeds listed within this local law.”

He said money had been set aside for the treatment of weeds within the City.

“It is not expected that any more money will be required,” he said.

Mr Barritt said the DHA had also shown an interest.

DHA Senior Development Manager WA Cade Taylor said they were committed to working with Mr Barritt to clear the pest plant.

“Working with Geoff Barritt and others, DHA has implemented a weed identification and eradication plan, proposed by our landscape architects and arborists. Geoff was involved in the review and approval of that plan and he agreed with the corrective measures within it,” he said.

“That plan is currently underway, with the first two treatments already taking place and further follow-up treatments expected to occur during the remainder of 2017 and into 2018. Eradicating these weeds is not a simple or fast exercise.

“DHA is committed to improving the quality of the flora on and around our landholding, as well as the protection of the surrounding sensitive reserve.”

A DPAW spokesperson agreed it was a big problem.

“Brazilian Peppers are a major environmental weed in WA and have been the focus of works by Parks and Wildlife in the Cape Peron area for many years,” he said.

“Officers met with Mr Barritt last month to discuss our approach to weed management in the area.”

“We also met with Landcorp to discuss the Brazilian Peppers on their managed lease area and provided advice about appropriate control methods.”

“We also met with the City of Rockingham to discuss weed management techniques at Lake Richmond.

“Major removal of mature plants was undertaken by the department adjacent to Memorial Drive and Safety Bay Road in 2011, and an annual control program is undertaken by the department and contractors in April each year to control reshooting plants and seedlings.

“This program is currently underway in the southern portion of the reserve in the area bounded by Lease Road, Boundary Road, Safety Bay Road and Memorial Drive.

“There are no major mature plants left in areas managed by the department.”

Landcorp Metropolitan General Manager John Hackett said they had been in contact with Mr Barritt.

He said they were not concerned with the tree as it was not banned.

“The Agriculture and Food’s Pest and Disease Information Service (PaDIS) has advised LandCorp that there is nothing that indicates an agricultural or quarantine concern,” he said.

“Further advice confirms Brazilian Pepper Trees are a permitted species as they have been established in Western Australia for many years.

“They are considered an environmental weed; however, there is no declaration for them to be controlled.”

He said they would continue to work with PaDIS to investigate Brazilian pepper trees.

Mr Barritt said it is not an Agricultural department issue.

“It is too easy for government officials to hang their hat on the Agriculture department excuse,” he said.

“It needs to be banned completely.”

A spokeswoman for Minister Dawson said they had received information from Mr Barritt and had organised for DPaW to meet with him.

“The department will continue to provide advice and work collaboratively with relevant land managers, leaseholders and park neighbours to control environmental weeds within the regional park,” she said.

WaterCorp also confirmed they had spoken with Mr Barritt said a spokeswoman.

“Water Corporation has met with Mr Barritt and the City of Rockingham to discuss weed management near Lake Richmond,” she said.

“Water Corporation has undertaken some immediate weed management within its pipeline easement and the cleared area of land across from Lake Richmond.

“We acknowledge Mr Barritt’s concerns and have informed him that a long-term weed management plan for the area will be developed.”

 

 

 

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