SMART: Council's pest management supervisor (North) Brent Tangey, volunteer Kim Price, project officer Lisa Del Riccio and and GAWB operations and maintenance manager Sarah Lunau inspect the cat's claw creeper biocontrol nursery in Calliope.
SMART: Council's pest management supervisor (North) Brent Tangey, volunteer Kim Price, project officer Lisa Del Riccio and and GAWB operations and maintenance manager Sarah Lunau inspect the cat's claw creeper biocontrol nursery in Calliope. Contributed.

New Gladstone project moves to eliminate threat to industry

CALLIOPE is now home to a biocontrol nursery to facilitate a project, the first of its kind in the Gladstone region.

The nursery, located on Racecourse Rd, will be used to manage cat's claw creeper, a pest weed native to tropical America.

The weed is an aggressive climber and has the ability to smother native vegetation.

Gladstone Regional Council Mayor Matt Burnett said the nursery would act as a biocontrol facility to rear the weed's natural predator, the jewel beetle.

"The jewel beetle will feed off the cat's claw creeper weed before being moved to a nominated local property, predominately within the Boyne Valley area, to control rural infestations," he said.

"Although the jewel beetle will not eradicate the weed, the biocontrol method is a cost effective way to reduce the vigour of widespread infestations."

Capricorn Pest Management Group member and councillor Peter Masters said the venture was a joint project by the council, Capricornia Catchments and the Gladstone Area Water Board.

"Council provided the land and funded the construction of the nursery and the purchase of biocontrol agents," Cr Masters said.

"CC purchased the nursery with Queensland Government funding and support from the Fitzroy Basin Association.

"CC volunteers, who were fundamental in its construction, will continue to propagate plants and operate the nursery.

"GAWB funded the provision of nursery benches to host the several hundred cat's claw creeper plants at the biocontrol nursery and shade house," he said.

Cr Masters said the nursery was one of many pest management initiatives.



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