Advice for Bushwalkers to consider Biosecurity

Recently we sought advice from the state government Primary Industries & Regions SA (PIRSA) in regards to issues bushwalkers should consider in relation to biosecurity.

Read the advice from Biosecurity SA – Invasive Species Unit, Primary Industries & Regions SA (PIRSA) in full below.

A major issue for the protection of native vegetation and primary production is the transport of seeds of weedy plants on clothing including footwear, and even coats or backpacks.

Walkers are advised to check their trousers, shoes and socks after walking through a weedy area, then take a moment to get all weed seeds out of their clothes. Staying on established walking trails can make it easier to avoid picking up this plant debris.

Walkers should also consider the potential for their vehicles to carry weeds on roadsides and car parks adjoining the walking trail.

The SA Weed Control App may be useful to walkers.

View as response letter (PDF).

 

Thank you for your enquiry, and for Walking SA’s interest in supporting the education of bushwalkers about biosecurity.

A major issue for the protection of native vegetation and primary production is the transport of seeds of weedy plants on clothing including footwear, and even coats or backpacks. All these items should be checked for any burrs, grass seeds etc. When camping out, it is also advisable to check swags and tents for seeds that get attached.

High risk declared weeds that may be transported in this way include caltrop, Noogoora burr and khaki weed; and, in the arid zone, buffel grass.

Walkers are advised to check their trousers, shoes and socks after walking through a weedy area, then take a moment to get all weed seeds out of their clothes. Staying on established walking trails can make it easier to avoid picking up this plant debris.

Walkers should also consider the potential for their vehicles to carry weeds on roadsides and car parks adjoining the walking trail.

Risk of vehicles spreading pests and diseases can be lessened by washing down using a hose, high pressure cleaner or spray tank and pump. Be sure to clean all potential seed collection points, and move the vehicle forward to ensure tyres are clean all around the tread. Sweep or vacuum inside the cab to remove seeds and plant debris.

Where no wash-down facilities are available be sure to physically remove all clods of mud and visible plant material in addition to cleaning the foot-well and cabin of the vehicle. Use a brush or scraping implement to remove contaminants such as burrs and clods of mud from tyres, mud guards, ledges and crevices where they could lodge.

Removed seeds should be bagged and taken to where they can be disposed of safely, for example by putting the bags in the ‘red’ garbage bin.

Soil pathogens such as phytophthora may also be carried in soil on footwear, particularly in the winter-spring wet months. Walkers should observe any signs marking known phytophthora infestations. The presence of shrubs that have died with all their dry brown foliage in place, especially yakkas and banksia, may indicate the presence of phytophthora.

Further to the above, the Invasive Species Council has produced a useful brochure on minimizing biosecurity risks when visiting natural areas: https://invasives.org.au/how-to-help/keep-gear-clean-wild/

Kangaroo Island is in the fortunate position of being free from many weeds and pests that are established on the mainland, and visitors have a responsibility to protect the island’s biosecurity. In particular, honey and unwashed potatoes must not be taken to Kangaroo Island. More information can be found at the Biosecurity SA website.

The SA Weed Control App may be useful to walkers. It illustrates all the plants declared in SA under the Landscape South Australia Act 2019, and enables a user to report infestations to regional weeds officers with GPS co-ordinates and a photo. The app can be downloaded from the Department of Primary Industries and Regions website at https://pir.sa.gov.au/biosecurity/weeds_and_pest_animals/weeds_in_sa/weed_contr ol_app

Volunteer groups who are installing trails should obtain advice from regional Landscape board staff and land managers regarding biosecurity signage, as part of the approval process for the on-ground works.

Thanks again for your interest in biosecurity issues.

Yours sincerely,
Dr John Virtue
General Manager Strategy, Policy & Invasive Species