In the South Alligator district of Kakadu National Park we’re busy managing the invasive grasses that displace native species and increase the fuel load. One particular grass we are working on is the African native mission grass. Introduced to Australia as a pasture feed, it is well established in the Northern Territory, Queensland and Western Australia – growing up to three metres high and competing year-round with native species.
Weed management might not sound glamorous but it’s a vital part of keeping the park healthy and a safe place for our visitors. We get to see some truly amazing places and heaps of wildlife but it’s hot and dirty work! Quads are our only mode of transport at this time of year – allowing us to travel to isolated floodplains margins and savannah woodland – but there’s always the chance of getting bogged in mud or finding yourself up to your waist in it!
Feral pigs love mission grass but while they’re digging around the roots they’re also assisting in its spread. The increased fuel load can result in extremely hot fires that seriously impact the environment so it’s incredibly rewarding to revisit a site and see a reduction in the grass and the landscape looking healthier.
As the dry season approaches we’ll reduce our efforts in weed management and work on controlled burning and safely opening park areas for visitors.
We look forward to seeing you!
Grant, Kakadu National Park