Arakoon (South West Rocks NSW)

Arakoon Bitou Bush Program

Arakoon (South West Rocks NSW)

Arakoon (South West Rocks NSW)

Tasmania Wilderness Sea Spurge Program - SPRATS

SPRATS (Sea Spurge Remote Area Teams) is a volunteer group and part of Wildcare Incorporated, a Tasmanian environmental organisation. SPRATS was formed after an encouraging pilot program in early 2007 conducted in response to the Tasmanian Beach Weeds Strategy 2003. SPRATS aims to establish and maintain an eradication zone for sea spurge (Euphorbia paralias) and marram grass (Ammophila arenaria) along the southwest and southern wilderness coastline of Tasmania—some 600 kilometres of coast from Macquarie Harbour, to Cockle Creek south of Hobart.

Wildcare SPRATS is at the forefront of creating and consolidating a new volunteer ethos of “adventure conservation” to tackle conservation issues in places where they are not efficiently managed by traditional agency implemented programs. This community partnership has generated real benefits for wilderness conservation and provides fulfillment and fun for volunteers. ….we concentrate on getting the work done but work hard at having a good time.

The coastal weed eradication objective is set at a landscape scale and so must operate over the long term and is logistically complex. SPRATS are self governing and self reliant, and have recruited the necessary skills to its ranks. SPRATS have documented a ten year strategy and operate each year under an annual plan. Volunteer risk is managed through careful participant selection, the use of specialised communications equipment, formal safety analyses and briefings and post deployment debriefing. Operational data is collected and analysed to improve future efforts.

Wildcare SPRATS work in partnership with a number of Government and community organizations, and are now preparing to implement year six of the ten year plan. Logistics costs to enable volunteers to work in remote country are covered by Australian Government grants and Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service operational funds.

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