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Are You a Biosecure Bushwalker? Part 2 – The Solutions

Are You a Biosecure Bushwalker? Part 2: The Solutions

This post follows after our post Part 1: The Risks based on Sharon Fulcher’s Are you a ‘Biosecure Bushwalker’? presentation.

 

What are the solutions to reduce the many biosecurity risks and protect the bush for our future generations? Sharon breaks it down for us into three points:


  1. Being aware of the NSW Biosecurity Act 2015

Becoming better informed as bushwalkers is Sharon’s first point. If you can have a look at The Commonwealth Biosecurity Act 2015,  you’ll notice we are required to be aware of the biosecurity risks we are causing when we walk, and to proactively take measures to prevent, minimise and eliminate them as reasonably practicable.

 

  1. Understanding that it is our responsibility

The responsibility of biosecurity risk is a shared one among the community as well as industry and government. Sharon says “There are very few references in Minimum Impact Codes and Leave No Trace about Biosecurity issues as it is a developing area requiring review by all outdoor clubs. The first step to prevention is awareness raising, reviewing the Minimum Impact Code and how it relates to Biosecurity measures.”

 

  1. Look at things that can help us be ‘Biosecure’

Finally we need to act. Here are Sharon’s suggestions around choice of Clothing, Gear, and Actions Out In the Bush are below – stay tuned for more information on this in next month’s article.

Clothing

  • Choose ‘no weave’ or ‘close weave’ clothing
  • Wear knee length gaiters or long pants and sock protectors
  • Carry a small brush/toothbrush for daily removal of seeds and mud
  • Carry a zip lock bag to dispose of seeds picked off clothing and socks and carry it out. Dispose in the ‘red bin’
  • Make sure pockets are closed
  • Ensure your boots have been scrubbed clean and sprayed with a solution of 70% metho to 30% water.

 

 

Gear

Ensure you have washed or sprayed your tent pegs, walking poles, bottom of gaiters, and bottoms of packs

Ensure your vehicle is clean, including floor mats and there is no old mud sticking to the vehicle.

 

 

 

When you are out in the bush

  • Use a boot cleaning station if available (or use a spray kept in your car)
  • Keep a spray bottle in the car of 70% metho to water and a brush to clean tyres, canopies etc before you leave a site, especially if travelling to another site.
  • Keep to walking tracks if you can to avoid spreading diseases/seeds into untracked areas, especially on wet ground.
  • Empty tent of debris where you are camped – don’t carry the seeds many kms from one area to another
  • Thoroughly clean and remove all dirt and plant material on backpacks, boots, socks and other gear before you leave a site and check before going to another site especially in wet conditions. Carry a small brush.
  • When parking your car, avoid weedy areas near carparks
  • Ensure your toileting practices involve good burial, being downstream and well away from any water source

In Part 3 we’ll cover Sharon Fulchers’ suggestions on how our clubs and leaders can help others follow and maintain biosecurity measures on a walk.

Read the “Are you a Biosecure Bushwalker?” presentation.

Notes, slides and content courtesy of Sharon Fulcher.

Photos by Jaimey Foti

Are You a Biosecure Bushwalker? Part 1 – The Risks

Are you a biosecure bushwalker?

In her recent presentation for Bushwalking NSW, Sharon Fulcher explained: “You may ask what Biosecurity has to do with bushwalkers? Biosecurity is probably a term more familiar to us as ‘quarantine’ – something we have to ‘pass’ when returning from an overseas trip or when travelling domestically to places in Tasmania or northern Australia where certain items are prohibited entry. And yes, this too is a part of Biosecurity. However bushwalkers can also inadvertently spread weeds, fungus or intestinal bugs into our favourite walking areas with disastrous results without even knowing it.”

Spreading seeds and weeds is easier than you might think. Have you ever considered that you might be spreading harmful weeds when brushing seeds or plants off your clothes?

Weeds are commonly spread by bushwalkers in the following ways:

  • Seeds can be picked up on footwear, socks, laces and trousers and open weave cotton T-shirts and sections of backpacks
  • On velcro fastenings on jackets and gaiter
  • In open pockets
  • Seeds caught in muddy boots
  • Picked up by vehicles in ‘weedy’ carparks or on car mats
  • Emptied out of tents and picked off socks
  • From around huts, especially in alpine areas
  • From interstate, overseas or from another national park

Like seeds, bushwalkers can easily damage vegetation by spreading funal infections between plants or contaminating waterways. Some of the risks include:

  • Bringing weed seeds, insect pests, or aquatic pests like waterweeds into new areas on their shoes, gear, canoes, boats or vehicles
  • Damaging vegetation and soil, exposing new ground where  weeds can establis
  • Damaging native wildlife habitat and creating conditions that encourage non – native specie
  • Transporting fungus spores, plant diseases or wildlife diseases into previously un-affected natural areas or adjacent farmland
  • Spreading water-borne parasites through poor hygiene practice

So how can we reduce these risks and protect our bushland? In Part 2 we’ll cover the ways you can help and leave no trace while you’re out in the bush.

Read the full “Are you a Biosecure Bushwalker?” presentation.

Notes, slides and content courtesy of Sharon Fulcher.
Photos by Yidan Saladine.