Sydney Trains Weed Management Plan

Client: Sydney Trains
Industry sector: Government/Transport Infrastructure

Service: Collect invasive flora data across the entire network and author a five-year weed management plan (including costings) for the network
Location: Sydney, Lithgow, Nowra, Newcastle

The project

Sydney Trains require a five-year weed management plan to deal effectively with weed infestations occurring within their network (rail corridor) as a requirement of the Biosecurity Act 2015 and their internal obligations to maintaining and protecting the environment.

Our role in the project

Niche was engaged by Sydney Trains to prepare a comprehensive five-year weed management plan to deal with the exotic flora existing within the rail corridor across the entire network. Sydney Trains requires the weed management plan to prioritise areas of weed infestation that involve High Threat Weeds of national, state and regional significance (listed under the Biosecurity Act), as well as whether the infestation occurs near to areas of high ecological sensitivity.

Botanist Dr Cairo Forrest provided expert flora identification skills whilst riding trains along the network at pace.

Niche was also required to collect the raw weed data across the entire network on learning early on in the project that the weed data help by Sydney Trains currently was neither spatially nor temporally robust enough to guide a current and future weed management strategy.

Challenges

Niche faced many significant challenges in this project, especially with respect to collecting a robust weed data set across the entire Sydney Trains network. Our team was required to find innovative methods on the run to overcome both the technical and logistical challenges in surveying such a large area (over 900 kms of network).

We trialled several methods before finding the most efficient and accurate method to collect this data, which involved the riding of trains across the entire network to record weeds at pace using handheld GPS devices and an original method developed by botanist Dr Cairo Forrest for fast pace recording of data.

The advantages we delivered to this project
  • Niche botanist Dr Cairo Forrest provided expert flora identification skills to identify weed species whilst riding trains along the network at pace.
  • Niche developed efficient and innovative strategies for mass data collection across the entire rail network.
  • Niche developed an innovative and interactive model for prioritising weed management areas that allows for new data to automatically update priority areas across the network.
  • Niche’s weed data, weed priority area model and weed management plan provide a robust method for prioritising weed management effort at the lowest possible cost to Sydney Trains by identifying areas of highest need that can be updated as works are completed and new data incorporated. 

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