AUSTRALIAN Wool Innovation (AWI) has decided not to continue filling the State wild dog co-ordinator's role, leaving Meja Aldrich who held the position for the past three years to look for other employment.
AWI project manager vertebrate pests Ian Evans said that Ms Aldrich's contract had expired and while she would not be replaced the funds that would have been allocated to the role would be diverted to support the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development's (DPIRD) three new appointed project officers who will take up the task, as well as support the licenced pest management technicians (LPMT) working in the field.
Mr Evans said that Ms Aldrich had done about as much as she could in the role to assist in the establishment of the recognised biosecurity groups (RBG) across the State and support them with training and assistance to better manage the scourge of wild dogs and the fact that three people needed to be put on to replace her showed how much she had done.
"It is good to see the value of the job that she has done recognised by other industry players," Mr Evans said.
"In making the decision we recognised that there needed to be more training inside of the State Barrier Fence than outside it, where pastoralists have been dealing with wild dogs for much longer and have a greater knowledge of how to deal with them."
He said the finer details of the funding were still being worked out but about 80 per cent would go directly to producers, working with DPIRD to do that, while the remaining 20pc would be spent on making available continued networking and support for LPMTs on the front line with the RBG.
A DPIRD spokesperson said it had appointed three new project officers who would work to support on-going arrangements with the RBG.
Their work would however, include more than just wild dogs.
"The appointments, funded by DPIRD through to June 2023, will cover the South West, agricultural and pastoral zones," the spokesperson said.
"The new appointments are Sarah Cawdell (in the South West), Kim Haywood (in the agricultural areas) and Peta Fissioli (in the pastoral region).
"The officers will work with the RBG on their priority areas across invasive species (vertebrate pests, weeds).
"They will work with the groups and other partnership arrangements to continue the good work around the management of pest species that industry and community see as a priority."
Up-to-date satellite information now available to pastoralists
WESTERN Australian pastoralists can now access updated satellite information to support rangelands management.
The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) has made available normalised differential vegetation index (NDVI) information for pastoral leases.
Department A team leader rangelands science Nathan Penny said the information could assist lease-level decisions to manage livestock.
"Pastoral lease areas of WA cover more than 850,000 square kilometres with a wide diversity of vegetation types, seasonal conditions and topography," Mr Penny said.
"NDVI can be used to help estimate the amount and health of green vegetation and the response of pastures to rainfall.
"That is, the more green that the satellite sees, the higher the value."
Online graphs allow users to compare current seasonal conditions with the past two years, along with historic good and poor years.
"This can assist in putting the current season into perspective in terms of the impact on vegetation growth," Mr Penny said.
He said the seasonal NDVI was only one tool and should be interpreted together with other information, such as an on-ground assessment of pastures and weather forecasts.
"DPIRD is continuing work to improve rangelands monitoring to support a profitable and sustainable pastoral industry," Mr Penny said.
- More information is available from the DPIRD website agric.wa.gov.au, searching 'normalised differential vegetation index'.