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Sea Spurge Remote Area Teams

Sea Spurge Remote Area Teams (SPRATS) is an environment care group founded in 2007, using a volunteer adventure conservation model. The initial primary purpose of the group, made up of a number of teams, is to remove the invasive sea ​​spurge flowering plant. [1]

The group was founded by Dr. Jon Marsden-Sedley, a research fellow at the University of Tasmania’s School of Geography and Environmental Studies. [1] [2]

As of 2017, SPRATS have removed over 14 million seedlings. [2] It is considered the “way of the future for community conservation” by the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service . [3]


Sea spurge: has a toxic sap, and the plant exchange Critically the shape and ecology of the coastal dunes, pushing out nesting shore birds [1] , and aussi Negatively Impacting Aboriginal heritage sites. [3] The Tasmanian is a key area for the hooded plover , foot oystercatcher , and sooty oystercatcher . It is also a key feeding zone for the migrating orange-bellied parrot . [4] The little tern is also adversely affected. [5]


SPRATS avocation to suit les and Maintain an eradication area for sea spurge ( Euphorbia paralias ) and marram grass ( Ammophila arenaria ) along 600 kilometers (370 mi) of southwest and southern Tasmanian coastline from Macquarie Harbor to Cockle Creek . [6] The initial program had a 10 year duration. [7] [8]

Achievements and awards

In 2009 SPRATS received the Tasmanian Award for Environmental Excellence in the Community section. [5] [8] [9]

In the first 3 years to 2010, 80 volunteers had contributed 2000 person days, removing 3 million sea spurge plants. [7]

As of June 2010, SPRATS expects to be cleared from the shore by Strahan and Cockle Creek , 25% of Tasmania’s coast. Another SPRATS group is operating on the east coast of Tasmania. [1] The SPRATS approach is also used in northern Tasmania on King Island . [10] SPRATS have also worked on Tasmanian islands. [11]

By 2015 the partnership between SPRATS and the Tasmanian Parks & Wildlife Service had resulted in 14 million plants being removed, mainly by hand. [4] [3]

In 2017, after 11 years, SPRATS have removed over 14 million plants. For their work the group has been awarded a Froggatt Award by the Invasive Species Council . [2]

As of January 2017, empowering bushwalking volunteers who also want to contribute to the environment, has turned $ 223,000 worth of state and federal government into $ 1.4 million worth of volunteer labor. SPRATS has also eradicated the blackbird infestations found along the coastline, monitored for other weeds, recorded information on rare and threatened shorebird species, for example, little tern , fairy tern , hooded plover , red-capped plover , oystercatcher foot , and orange- bellied parrot , and Aboriginal cultural sites, for example, petroglyphs , stone arrangements, middens, and hut sites, and the use of the area by other users. The estimated reduction in marram grassclumps is over 95%. [12]

The SPRATS model of:

  • careful planning
  • community engagement
  • agency partnership

Highly effective means of eradication in areas of difficulty. [7] It is regarded as the “way of the future for community conservation” by the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service. [3]

The SPRATS have been so successful that the concept is being generalized into adventure volunteering . Activity has also been organized to remove other infections, for example blackberry infestations. [1]

More broadly, adventure volunteering, or adventure conservation, is a very successful form of citizen science . [4]

Formation and structure

SPRATS was formed as a result of a survey in 2006 [3] and of a pilot program in 2007 to support the Tasmanian Beach Weeds Strategy 2003. [6]

SPRATS are a group of volunteers, and are part of the Tasmanian Environmental Organization, Wildcare. [6]

Risk management is managed by their careful selection, operations safety assessments, and communications support. Predeployment briefings and postdeployment debriefings are held. [6]

Logistics costs are covered by Australian Government grants and Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service operating funding. [6]

Other groups and organizations actively support and contribute to SPRATS. [13]

Volunteers typically pay for their own way to predeployment staging areas, and use their own personal time to contribute. [4]

Site access by teams is on foot. Remote area volunteers are deployed by helicopter, boat, or fixed-wing aircraft. [7] [3] [8] Trips vary from eight days to three weeks. On the long haul food drops are used so that the volunteers only have to carry one week’s worth of supplies, they also have to bring their own hiking and camping gear. A day usually includes four hours of hunting, snorkeling, exploring or just relaxing. [12]

Science and methodology

A feature of the SPRATS is the supporting science and formal processes. The volunteers:

  • collect information on site rental, weed removed, time taken to weed sites
  • research the most effective treatment method, for example, based on plant maturity and seeding times

Detailed maps of the workings and routes are being prepared and implemented. Optimization of basic camping and excursions. [4] [7]

Further reading

  • A case study of the SPRATS program, 2014. [14]
  • EVALUATION REPORT DECEMBER 2015 – Wildcare SPRATS volunteer weed eradication project

External links

  • SPRATS official site
  • WildCare Tasmania official site


  1. ^ Jump up to:e Pree, Richard (18 June 2010). “Taking adventure weeding to the world” . ABC Northern Tasmania . Retrieved 17 June 2017 .
  2. ^ Jump up to:c “Volunteers receive award for a work-up invasive species” . ABC RN Breakfast. February 1, 2017 . Retrieved 17 June 2017 .
  3. ^ Jump up to:f Mounster, Bruce (18 March 2015). “West Coast weeding war: 14 million weeds in nine years” . The Mercury . News Corp . Retrieved 18 June 2017 .
  4. ^ Jump up to:e “An ‘impossible’ challenge Accomplished by wilderness weed warriors” . Tasmanian Parks & Wildlife Service. March 12, 2015 . Retrieved 18 June 2017 .
  5. ^ Jump up to:b Luscombe, Geoff (1 January 2010). “Adventure weeders protect Tasmania’s entire southwest wilderness coast from alien invaders” . Tasmanian Times . Retrieved 18 June 2017 .
  6. ^ Jump up to:e “Tasmania Wilderness Sea Spurge Program – SPRATS” . Willow Warriors. February 27, 2017 . Retrieved 17 June 2017 .
  7. ^ Jump up to:e “Weed Management Guide – Sea Spurge ( Euphorbia paralias )”(PDF) . Tasmanian Parks & Wildlife Service . Retrieved 18 June 2017 .
  8. ^ Jump up to:c Mooney, Peter (29 September 2015). “Community involvement in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area” (PDF) . The Australian Committee for IUCN . Retrieved 18 June 2017 .
  9. Jump up^ “2009 Tasmanian Awards for Environmental Excellence Winners” . Tasmanian Environment Protection Authority. June 5, 2009 . Retrieved 18 June 2017 .
  10. Jump up^ “Sea Spurge Management Plan for King Island, Tasmania” (PDF) . King Island Natural Resource Management Group Inc. 2010 . Retrieved 18 June2017 .
  11. Jump up^ Bryant, Sally (2014). “Tasmania: State of the islands” (PDF) . Tasmanian Land Conservancy . Retrieved 18 June 2017 .
  12. ^ Jump up to:b Marsden-Smedley, Jonathan (12 January 2017). “Wilderness adventurers clean out Tasmania’s sea spurge threat” . Invasive Species Council . Retrieved 18 June 2017 .
  13. Jump up^ A sample of other groups Actively Contributing to SPRATS:
    • Melbourne University Mountaineering Club T, Allex (13 August 2012). “SPRATS – Weeding on the Tasmanian South West Coast” . Melbourne University Mountaineering Club . Retrieved 18 June 2017 .
    • Birthday Bay Track Conservation Group “Birthday Bay Track Conservation Group” . Landcare Tasmania . Retrieved 18 June 2017 .
  14. Jump up^ Marsden-Smedley, Jon (4 September 2014). “Adventure volunteering or volunteering for adventure: using volunteers for environmental management”(PDF) . Nineteenth Australasian Weeds Conference (2014) . Council of Australasian Weed Societies . Retrieved 18 June 2017 .

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