Astron developed a method for conducting a rapid assessment of weed cover along a 320 km long rail line to meet the clients’ requirement for a cost effective approach for guiding weed control activities. The identity, cover and geospatial location for each weed species was digitally captured in 500 m grid cells over the length of the rail. The data from the survey was used to produce heat maps which delineate four levels of weed management priority.
Management priorities were developed based on regulatory requirements which included Ministerial Conditions relating to weeds and the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act 2007. High priority areas were identified where particular weed species and areas of weed cover were potentially at variance to regulatory requirements.
Areas at risk of becoming non-compliant due to operational vectors and isolated populations of new weeds were medium priority. Areas that were consistent with the regional context of weeds were low priority; however early weed control may assist in the establishment of rehabilitation. The remaining areas were to be monitored to detect occurrences that may adapt the management priority.
The management framework provides a useful tool to allocate cost, time and resources for a prioritised on-ground weed management program. Astron’s technical expertise was utilised to develop a method to rapidly assess the weed status and design a practical solution for on-ground weed management over a large scale linear infrastructure project. The data collected can also be used to assess the effectiveness of weed control activities in the future.