New funding to address biosecurity threats

News article |

A new program to improve management of biosecurity threats in the SA Arid Lands has received funding from the South Australian Landscape Priorities Fund.

The Resilient Rangelands – Managing biosecurity threats for climate resilient landscapes program received $800,000 to manage the biosecurity threats from feral goats, pigs and wild dogs, which pose a risk to resilient, healthy and productive rangeland landscapes.

SA Arid Lands Landscape Board General Manager Jodie Gregg-Smith said pest species also directly impact biodiversity and production values, and exacerbate climate impacts by degrading land, accelerating drought conditions and hampering recovery.

“Urgent and direct action is required to reduce current and future environmental threats to some of the most sensitive conservation values and marginal economies in SA,” she said.

“Goats and feral pigs particularly are some of the biggest biosecurity threats to our region and will have a devastating impact on production by spreading diseases such as foot and mouth should it ever make it into Australia.”

A coordinated approach to increase education, engagement and on-ground management activities between landholders, industry and landscape boards is central to the three-year project.

Resilient Rangelands brings together the Eyre Peninsula, Northern and Yorke, Murraylands and Riverland and SA Arid Lands Landscape Boards, industry bodies, environment and conservation partners, government and policy makers and land managers. Collectively they will support landscape scale management of feral goats, pigs and wild dogs that negatively impact biodiversity and production systems, including livestock and potential environmental markets and economies.

The project will include coordinated feral goat, pig and wild dog management, with aerial goat and pig surveys and control programs planned. Education and capacity building in innovative management techniques for land managers will promote adoption of long term threat abatement and management strategies.

Existing landholder and community groups will be supported to contribute their local knowledge and expertise into coordinating activities on feral goats, pigs and wild dogs (inside the Dog Fence). Neighbouring boards will be supported to implement buffer zones and plan scaled actions.

A committee supported by the four landscape boards, Pastoral Board, Goat Industry Council, and Biosecurity SA is reviewing feral goat management in the rangelands. This includes a cost benefit analysis that contemplates industry and economic outcomes alongside environmental and biodiversity impacts. It will also explore the trade-offs between retaining goats as livestock in the landscape for commercial benefit and the impacts to environment alongside other industries such as natural capital gains, ecosystem services and carbon.

The project will also expand and extend the efforts within the Biteback program and the focus on wild dog management south of the fence across all regions in SA. Compliance will be a key priority in delivering this project, to assist all land managers to meet their community responsibility to manage these pest species.

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