Two South West councils have received a helping hand in their fight against blackberry, sharing in nearly $410,000 from the State Natural Resource Management Program. The Shires of Donnybrook-Balingup and Collie have been awarded the funding for the Collie Donnybrook Balingup Natural Resource Recovery Program, which will be used to target the invasive plant. Donnybrook-Balingup Shire president Vivienne MacCarthy said the council was proud to have been jointly awarded the funding. “One of our key areas outlined in the (10-year) council plan revolves around our planet, where we focus on leaving each place we touch better than we found it,” she said. “The works that will come from this program will also aid in our shared commitment to sustainability, as well as allow us to help our local farmers and agricultural businesses.” Collie shire president Ian Miffling also celebrated the announcement. “The Shire of Collie relies on this further funding opportunity to assist in the education around pests and on-ground mitigation works for our community,” he said. A portion of the funding will be used to allow landholders to split the costs of reducing or reversing the negative impacts of blackberry on their land through measures including fencing, revegetation, erosion control and weed control. Other measures include controlling the invasive species on waterways and holding two community workshops in each shire a year to increase capacity to manage blackberry on private property. The focus of both councils will be on properties adjoining perennial rivers with known infestations of the plant. A 2020 project between the two councils and the Shire of Dardanup saw about 600km of waterways mapped for blackberry presence and 1200ha controlled over a 12 month period, following Federal Government funding. The plant is listed as one of 32 Weeds of National Significance.