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Jawoyn

War on Weeds: Fighting Gamba Grass

May 11, 2019
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The Jawoyn Rangers have stepped up efforts to stop the invasive weed Gamba grass from spreading across the Katherine region and south Arnhem Land.

Gamba grass was introduced to the Northern Territory in the 1930s as feed for cattle, but the characteristics that make it a perfect feed crop for growing in northern tropical savanna also make it an aggressive weed. It spreads at a rapid rate and can now be found right across northern Australia.

The worst infestations are within 200 km of Darwin, including Litchfield National Park and northern Jawoyn country on the borders of Kakadu National Park.

In an effort to try to stop this harmful weed, Jawoyn Rangers are continuing with an eradication, training and education program they started last year.

The program kicked off with support from a Territory Ranger Grants to work with a Weed Mentor to further the rangers’ knowledge and understanding of weeds and to buy specialised weed treatment equipment.

The Jawoyn Rangers’ long term aim is to train up a team of weed specialists who can take on fee for service weed work.

Ground spraying began in February and has continued since, targeting the North Barnjarn Pine Creek, Wandi track and South Barnjarn between the road and rail corridors.

The North team have done a fantastic job, working remotely out of Pine Creek. Lead by fulltime rangers Mohammed and Mike, the six casuals have made a real impact on the gamba infestations. Great work team!

The South team have been re-visiting gamba infestations they sprayed last year and they’re reporting they can see a clear change.

Another strategy to combat gamba is through education, and our Jawoyn Ngalmukka (Women) Rangers are leading the charge. They’ve made posters and created a presentation to raise gamba awareness in the community.

The women rangers also ran an information stall at the Edith Farms Volunteer Fire Brigade Gamba Information Day at Charles Darwin University, with more than 80 people including government and community groups.

The Ngalmukka Rangers are preparing to visit schools to talk about gamba and show students what our rangers and everyone in the community can do to stop it from killing country.