Cactus Warriors Win Landcare Award

Several members of the Tarrangower Cactus Control Group trekked down to Government House last Friday because the group and Ian Grenda were both finalists in the Victorian Landcare Awards for 2017.

We were very impressed by the stunning building and surrounds, and very excited just to be there. But we were soon to be totally overwhelmed by winning the Fairfax Media Landcare Community Group Award, and Ian receiving a High Commendation for the Australian Government Individual Landcarer Award.

Congratulations to all our past and present ‘Cactus Warriors’ who have helped us in our war against Wheel Cactus over the past 12 years. This award acknowledges and rewards us for our tenacious energy, time and commitment. Well done Ian and everyone!

All Cacti Species are Introduced

Any of the many different cacti species have the potential to escape from an urban garden and cause major environmental destruction, as Wheel Cactus (Opuntia robusta) has done in our region. Vectors such as birds and foxes can easily transport seeds from a garden to local bushland or farm. Often cactus plants become no longer desired and if dumped, will readily re-root and continue to grow wherever they end up, because they’re so hardy and undemanding.

All cacti are non-native plants, introduced into Australia from North or South America. All species of Opuntia cacti (e.g. prickly pears, rope cacti, etc.) have been declared Weeds of National Significance since 2012, because they are highly invasive and have extremely negative impacts on primary industry and our natural flora and fauna. These cacti should not be planted anywhere in Australia.

TCCG is here to help you destroy your Wheel Cactus. If you want to know more then please join us at our next Community Field Day on Sunday 27th August, starting at 10:30am and finishing with a friendly BBQ lunch. We’ll meet in Tarrangower School Rd., accessed via South Parkins Reef Rd., a few kms south of Maldon. These events are family friendly, but all children must be accompanied by a parent at all times.

Don’t forget that Mt. Alexander Shire offers a rate rebate of 20% to landholders who have undertaken environmental protection works on their property. Landowners can also earn a yearly rate reduction if they have a conservation covenant. For further information, contact the Shire on 5471 1700.

New Map of Wheel Cactus in Victoria

 

The Tarrangower Cactus Control Group has recently completed a project aimed at increasing awareness and knowledge about Wheel Cactus. One of the valuable outcomes from this project is the construction a new map showing the distribution of Wheel Cactus infestations in Victoria.

The ever enthusiastic, young, local environmentalist Max Schlachter was employed as our project officer, and has collated 345 recorded sites of Wheel Cactus within our state. These sites covered 105 different localities around Victoria, mostly in a band from the northwest to Melbourne, but including some surprising outliers elsewhere. The majority of the sites (69%) were new records, and the rest were existing records taken from current government maps, such as the Victorian Biodiversity Atlas.

Some alarming realisations from this mapping exercise were that within some of these localities, for example ‘Maldon’, there are too many infestations to record, plus there are very likely many infestations that we did not capture. Thankyou Max for your wonderful work, and thanks also to the Norman Wettenhall Foundation for funding the project.

Want to know more about Wheel Cactus and how to deal with it, then please come to our next Community Field Day on Sunday 30th July, starting at 10:30am. We’ll meet just inside the entrance to the Lakeshore Olive farm in Greenhill Bridge Rd., a few kms south of Maldon, off Whitlocks Rd. These events are family friendly, but we ask that all children be accompanied by a parent at all times.

And don’t forget, if you have any old injector guns that are no longer working, please bring them back to us and we’ll swap then for working models. If you can’t make it to our next field day, call or text Jan on 0400 973 528 and she’ll organise a drop-off or pick-up.