DNA technology being used to battle Northern Rivers weeds

A FIGHTING fund of $980,000 will target the region's some of the region's worst weeds.

DNA bar-coding to identify exotic grasses and guide posts along roads in high-risk areas could be used in the battle against the region's pests, which include tropical soda apple, alligator weed, cat's claw creeper and giant rat's tail.

The NSW North Coast Weeds Advisory Committee's five-year North Coast Weed Action Program secured the $982,815 State Government grant.

The committee will use the money to manage the threat of new invasive plants and keep high-risk native fauna safe.

The NCWAP will inspect more than 56,000 areas of land, including private properties, over the duration of the project.

Tropical soda apple
Tropical soda apple

It will also create management and protection programs for areas of the region's economy and environment at risk from weeds.

The move follows the Natural Resources Commission's review of weed management across NSW.

Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson said research and DNA testing were among the weapons of choice.

"This review was about looking holistically at the issue of weed management, an issue which costs our state some $1.8 billion annually in control and lost production," Ms Hodgkinson said.

"This funding allows for research and implementation of new noxious weed control methods, including DNA bar-coding to identify exotic invasive grasses and the installation of red guide posts along roadsides in high-risk areas."

The money will also be used on projects in the Grafton region.

The government's plan of attack:

  • Co-ordinated approach across NSW.
  • Make sure public and private land
  • holders meet weed eradication and
  • control requirements.
  • Improve accountability by
  • increasing fines.
  • Create 11 regional weed committees.
  • Introduce an online system to ensure greater transparency and to allow for more consistent state-wide weed mapping.
  • Improve prevention measures and weed outbreak responses.

SOURCE: State Government

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