Yellow crazy ants in the tropics, it’s not over yet

This guest post is contributed by the Invasive Species Council. The Invasive Species Council campaigns for stronger laws, policies and programs to keep Australia’s native plants and animals safe from weeds, feral animals and other invaders. http://www.invasive.org.au

The battle to protect Queensland’s Wet Tropics World Heritage Area from yellow crazy ants has had new life breathed into it with the promise of $10.5 million over the next three years, enough to resuscitate an eradication program that was on the verge of collapse.

The Federal Government has committed $7.5 million and Queensland will kick in another $3 million. However, the Wet Tropics Management Authority says it needs $15 million to eradicate the invasive ant.

Yellow crazy ants are considered among the world’s worst invasive species. Unchecked they form super colonies that can devastate native animal populations and turn rainforests into ghost towns.

Yellow crazy ants attacking a caterpillar.
Yellow crazy ants are a threat to north Queensland’s beautiful native butterflies and caterpillars, which are just one of many small native animals killed by these highly aggressive invasive ant species. Photo: David Wilson

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Koster’s curse – time is on our side

Guest post is contributed by the Invasive Species Council. The Invasive Species Council campaigns for stronger laws, policies and programs to keep Australia’s native plants and animals safe from weeds, feral animals and other invaders. http://www.invasive.org.au

Koster’s curse has been described as Australia’s new lantana. A slow growing, invasive weed it smothers pastures and the native understorey of tropical rainforests.

It poses a threat to agriculture and the rainforests of our wet tropics. In Hawaii it has smothered everything in its path and forced landowners off their land – a bleak outlook for Australia’s beautiful wet tropics.

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North Queensland Regional NRM Plan released

The Burdekin Dry Tropics Natural Resource Management (NRM) Plan was officially launched on 26th August. It is the only one of its kind in the region and forms the blueprint for how the community can work together to protect and sustainably manage our natural resources for the next 10 years. Read the Burdekin Dry Tropics NRM Plan here.

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Clearing law loss a disaster for the Reef, climate change and wildlife

Last night, the Queensland government failed to pass vital land-clearing reform legislation.

This is a disaster of Queensland’s making.

It’s a huge win for big agriculture and a terrible blow for our Reef, climate change and hundreds of Queensland’s vulnerable or endangered species.

The health of our Reef is directly linked to increased erosion that comes from the tree clearing. Queensland has now passed up the chance to take real steps to protect our Reef for Australians and visitors around the world who support a major tourism industry.

Clearing in Queensland has doubled since 2011 to almost 300,000 hectares a year, more than half of this in reef catchments.

The rejection of this legislation is at odds with $8.2 billion recently announced to restore erosion and fix water quality in catchments flowing to the Reef.  These reforms were essential for the Reef to stay off the UNESCO World Heritage ‘in danger’ list.

It’s tragic that, as a State, we aren’t doing a better job of protecting our state and its globally significant natural assets.

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More coverage: ‘Queensland land-clearing controls face defeat with former Labor MP voting no’, in The Guardian, and ‘Toughened tree clearing laws fail to pass Queensland Parliament in blow to minority Labor Government’, on ABC News.

The Hon. Dr Steven Miles presents on the challenges facing the reef and the cost to fix it

On the 11th of August, NQCC staffers Maree Dibella and Jacob Miller attended Hon. Dr Steven Miles’ presentation on the challenges facing the Great Barrier Reef, as the Virginia Chadwick Memorial Lecture. Dr Miles unveiled the findings of a report by the Water Science Taskforce that details an $8.2 billion strategy to save the reef over the next decade.

The strategy is to reduce the amount of sediment the runs off in the reef by managing vegetation clearing and addressing gully erosion. Of particular concern is the Fitzroy catchment near Rockhampton, taking about three-quarters of the recommended funding, as well as the Burdekin catchment to the south of Townsville, which requires $1.39 billion for rehabilitation.

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