Backyard blitz targets illegal weeds for sale

Queensland Government
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

3 January 2020
Biosecurity Queensland and Sunshine Coast Regional Council target illegal weeds in backyard nurseries

• Biosecurity Queensland and Sunshine Coast Regional Council have seized more than 1,000 illegal cacti plants that were being propagated for sale by local backyard growers
• The plants are related to the prickly pear cactus and have the potential to spread in the same way, endangering the local environment, stock and native wildlife
• If you are planning to sell plants, make sure they are not restricted or prohibited under the Biosecurity Act 2014.

Biosecurity Queensland and Sunshine Coast Regional Council officers have destroyed more than 1,000 invasive plants being propagated for sale by backyard growers that had the potential to become serious pests.

Biosecurity Queensland Operations Manager Rob Cobon said most of the plants seized were cacti.

“Our staff, together with Sunshine Coast Regional Council officers have been on the lookout for people selling illegal plants either online or through local markets,” he said.

“The plants that we’ve seized are relatives to the prickly pear cactus, which decimated 60 million acres of land and sent many landholders broke.

“These plants have the potential to cause similar problems, are highly invasive and their sharp spines can also cause injury to stock and native animals.”

The Sunshine Coast Regional Council is taking a proactive approach to preventing weed infestations from occurring by implementing a local Biosecurity Plan.

Mr Cobon said the Biosecurity Act 2014 requires everyone to take all reasonable and practical steps to minimise the risks associated with invasive plants and animals under their control.

“So if you’re planning to sell plants online or at your local market, please make sure that they’re not restricted or prohibited,” he said.

“If these plants spread they can cause serious damage to the local environment and stock and native wildlife.”

If you have or think you know someone who is keeping or selling illegal plants please contact Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23.

Luke Short, Vector and Pest Plant Officer from Sunshine Coast Regional Council, removing drooping tree pear (Opuntia monacantha) that were intended for sale. Picture supplied (DAF)

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Butterfly Flutters for Citizen Scientists

Knowledge of the population distribution of the endangered Richmond Birdwing Butterfly (Ornithoptera richmondia) is about to be improved with a new citizen science project in south east Queensland.


ECOllaboration Ltd’s Chief Executive Officer, Cerran Fawns, said “We have had many unofficial reports of sightings since our last survey ten years ago and we need to update records for the last five years”.


The butterfly is listed as vulnerable and is an important species that has been severely impacted by habitat loss and the introduced vine, the Dutchman’s Pipe (Aristolochia elegans), which is poisonous to the butterfly larvae.


The native birdwing butterfly vine, Pararistolochia praevenosa, is what the larvae feed on in the wild, however it looks so similar to the Dutchman’s Pipe, the adult females get confused and lay eggs on the introduced vine which are a death trap for the emergent larvae.


Dutchman’s Pipe photo courtesy of Jim Stuart

The native birdwing butterfly vine has been planted widely throughout the region over the last ten years and we are wanting to determine if the populations have spread from the isolated pockets of the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast areas.


Ms Fawns added, “The males are easily recognisable being black and iridescent green with the females less striking with brown, yellow and white markings”.


Male butterfly photo courtesy of Elliot Bowerman

Female butterfly photo courtesy of Richard Bull

The data collected from the community sightings will be uploaded to the Living Atlas of Australia which gives a generalised map of the distribution and the Richmond Birdwing Butterfly Network.


To report sightings over the last five years and to view photos of the butterfly, vines and larvae, go to http://ecoeducationservice.org.au/richmondbirdwingbutterfly/.

A report from can also be downloaded and mailed to ECOllaboration, PO Box 311, Nambour Qld 4560 or phoned in on 07 54764777.


This project is supported by ECOllaboration Ltd, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

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We Are Hiring!

Closes 15th March 2018

Catchment Services is seeking applications from suitably qualified natural area practitioners to help deliver natural area works thoughout the Sunshine Coast.  Works include riparian restoration activities, natural area management works, constructed lakes and wetlands maintenance, environmental offset management works and native landscaping works.

To be considered suitable the suscessful applicants must be willing to work as a team, have good communication skills, an enthusiastic attitude and the ability to work in rough and remote terrain in outdoor conditions.

Supervisor roles require 3 years experience in the natural area industry.

Team member roles require at least 1 year experience in the natural area industry.

All positions require the following qualifications:

  • Manual open drivers licence
  • Cert III or higher in CALM, Horticulture or related discipline
  • ACDC licence
  • Chainsaw level 1 licence
  • Construction white card
  • Senior first aid certificate

Desirable qualifications and experience include:

  • Mobile mapping experience
  • Mobile reporting experience
  • GPS and GIS experience
  • MUTCD licence
  • Chainsaw level 2 licence
  • Working with children blue card

To apply, send CV and cover letter to info@catchmentservices.org.au

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Maroochy Beach Community Planting Day 23rd November

Maroochydore Beach Community Planting Day

Council is planning to get 10,000 plants in the ground on the day to kick start the dunal building process. So come along and lend a hand. If you could circulate this through your networks that would be much appreciated.

Saturday the 23rd of November

8 – 11am

Meet at Pierce Park Alexandra Parade, Maroochydore

Don’t forget to:

• wear comfortable protective clothing

• wear enclosed footwear

• slop on some sunscreen

• slap on a hat

• bring a water bottle.


Catchment Services
Donaldson Road
Nambour 4560

Postal Address

PO Box 311
Nambour QLD 4560


Email : Contact Us

Telephone: 07 5476 4777

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