When bushwalker Jon Marsden- Smedley first started telling people of his plan to rid southwest Tasmania’s coast of Sea Spurge (Euphorbia paralius) an invasive weed—he was told he was dreaming.
Last week the Sea Spurge Action Teams SPRATS which was formed in 2007, were awarded a FROGGATT AWARD by the Invasive Species Council, for 10 years work eradicating sea spurge from Tasmania’s rugged southwest coastline.
During this period more than 150 remote area volunteers removed 14.2 million sea purge plants from 600 km of coastline contributing 6,000 hours of labour valued at over $1.4 million. Now, 99.5% of the treated area is sea spurge free. Areas have also been treated for Marram Grass, and two of the region’s only blackberry infestations. Volunteers undertook trips of between eight days and three weeks, arriving by foot, helicopter, boat or fixed-wing aircraft. Methods used include hand weeding, ground and aerial spraying. SPRATS is a WildCare group working in partnership with the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service.
Both Sea Spurge and Marram Grass are recognised as threats to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. They can change the shape and structure of dune and beach environments by displacing native plants, they adversely impact on coastal herbfields, grasslands, shrublands, shorebird habitats and marsupial feeding areas.