Biosecurity Prevention & Management

Melanie Dixon March 19, 2023

Preventing the Introduction and Spread of Invasive Weed, Pest and Diseases on Project Sites

Construction and ground disturbance works have the potential to introduce and spread of weed and pest species and diseases that can have damaging effects on land use, the natural landscape and biodiversity. As well as have a negative impact on the environment, economy, landowners and surrounding communities. Effective biosecurity management is crucial in preventing the introduction and spread of weed and pest species and diseases.

Biosecurity Management Starts with Planning

The first step in preventing the spread of weeds, pest species and diseases is to identify which species are present onsite and regionally. A site survey can be conducted to determine which weed species are present and where they are located. Once this is done, exclusion zones and appropriate control measures can be planned. Exclusion zones can be established around areas of highly invasive weed species to prevent their spread. These zones should be clearly marked, and all personnel should be made aware of these zones.

Preventing the introduction of new species is a highly effective control measure. All equipment, vehicles, and materials should be free of potential weed, pest and disease containing materials. Thorough cleaning and inspection procedures can achieve this requirement.

Implementation and Monitoring of Biosecurity Control Measures

Weed and disease hygiene controls in the form of washdown bays are particularly important for sites located near sensitive environmental and agricultural areas. These are designated areas where vehicles and equipment are thoroughly cleaned, and if required disinfected, to remove any weeds or diseases that may be present.

Equipment and vehicles are washed down using a combination of a high-pressure hose and a hard bristled brush to remove dirt and debris from the wheels and undercarriage. In instances where there is the potential for pathogens, such as Phytophthora, a disinfectant solution is then applied to the vehicle. Any plant or pathogen material is collected within the sump of the washdown bay for later disposal.

Other key biosecurity control measures include:

– Minimising disturbance to the minimum areas required for safe access and works. Also prevent further ground disturbance which can encourage the growth and spread of weed species;

– Control measures such as the use of herbicides and physical removal for weeds; 

– Work areas and laydown areas should be kept clean and tidy. This reduces the opportunities for pest animals to shelter and source food;

– Progressive rehabilitation of disturbed areas to reduce the establishment of weeds; and

– Regular inspections to identify the present or spread of weed and pest species. Then monitor control measures are being implemented and are effective.

How We Can Help Your Project

At Applied Environment and Safety, we are committed to providing our clients with industry leading best practice. This includes using our technical knowledge and industry experience from planning through to implementation and compliance. Our team is dedicated to identifying environmental risks, providing practical solutions and improving project outcomes.

For more information on our services, visit our Services Page.