THE Department of Environment and Primary Industries has congratulated twenty three Ararat district landholders on their efforts to successfully control gorse on their properties.
The move follows the successful end of a compliance project at Denicull Creek, south of Ararat, which was delivered to support community efforts in the area.
DEPI Biosecurity area manager for the Grampians, Malinda Godino said the Upper Hopkins Land Management Group, with support from the Victorian Gorse Taskforce and the Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authority, had invested significant funds to treat gorse along priority waterways.
"The 2011 floods resulted in a strong potential for gorse seed to move significant distances downstream within the Upper Hopkins River catchment," she said.
"This catchment is identified as a high priority asset and must be protected from the impact of gorse.
"To support the Upper Hopkins Land Management Group in controlling gorse, DEPI delivered the second phase of a multi-stage gorse management program in the Upper Hopkins River Catchment area.
"In November 2013, DEPI officers inspected 23 properties within the Denicull Creek area, spanning 1000 hectares, and served notices to 17 landowners to control gorse on their properties.
"During follow up inspections in May-June, DEPI was pleased with the success rate of compliance.
"Only a few landowners required a follow up inspection to ensure that gorse had been successfully treated."
Landowners have a legal responsibility to manage declared noxious weeds on their property to ensure they don't adversely affect agricultural production on neighbouring farms or impact on the natural environment.
Where landowners do not meet those responsibilities penalties can apply.
Upper Hopkins Land Management group secretary, Celia Tucker said there had been fantastic work achieved in controlling gorse in this area over several years.
"It is important that private and public landowners continue to control gorse in a co-ordinated approach," she said.
Ms Tucker said the Upper Hopkins Land Management Group had financial assistance available through the Victorian Gorse Taskforce for those landowners involved in the Upper Hopkins Gorse Control program.