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New skills and partnership to fight feral pests

For the first time the unique skills and expertise of the Landcare network are being harnessed to tackle feral pigs, dogs, foxes and other pests on the Central Tablelands.

Central Tablelands Local Land Services has contracted Landcare to provide Pest Animal Group Coordinators, utilising their networking and engagement skills to increase landholder participation and support effective pest control.

Agencies across the state are closely watching the pilot project.

“Central Tablelands Local Land Services is the first Local Land Services region in NSW to launch a formal joint pest management project with Landcare,” said Senior Land Service Officer, Paul Gibb.

“This is a partnership, funded by Local Land Services, where we’re working together to achieve the goals of the recently released Regional Pest Management Strategy.”

Feral pests are a big problem for both agriculture and the environment, and pest control works best when landholders and agencies work together with a coordinated strategy.

“Landcare is brilliant at doing that sort of thing, networking and planning, so we expect this initiative to bring new people into a more strategic approach to pest management,” said Paul. “The idea is to get community members engaged in a structured format, with the help of Pest Animal Coordinators to bring them to the table.”

Beth Greenfield is the first Pest Animal Group Coordinator to be employed under the new Landcare - Local Land Services pilot project. She started her new job in July working in the Watershed Landcare region covering Mudgee, Gulgong, Rylstone and Hill End.

“I’ve been getting to know landholders in this region and identifying the key challenges we need to tackle, including overcoming some of the basic problems for landholders engaging and communicating with their local pest groups,” said Beth.

Beth also worked with the newly formed Piambong Yarrabin Pest Group to help coordinate their first wild dog baiting program held between August and September this year.

“We had 20 landholders take part in this group’s first program. The majority of these people had not taken part in a coordinated baiting on this scale before, so that was a great result.”

Four new Pest Animal Group Coordinators have now been engaged by Central Tablelands Local Land Services, including Beth Greenfield - Watershed Landcare, Mel Kiel - Little River Landcare, Sally Kirby - Central Tablelands Landcare, and Jayden Gunn - Mid Lachlan Landcare. A new Pest Animal Group Coordinator will also be appointed to the Lithgow Oberon Landcare region in coming weeks.

“Landcare and Local Land Services have already been working with each other on a regular basis, but this new project will formalise and enhance that process, combining our biosecurity expertise with Landcare’s knack for networking and community engagement,” stated Paul Gibb.

ENDS