Weed wizard on the warpath

LISA MORRISONCountryman

Albany scientist John Moore has dedicated more than three decades to protecting the Great Southern region's native bushland from weeds.

The award-winning weed guru left a mixed farm between Meckering and Northam that had been in the family since 1911 to work at the Department of Agriculture and Food in Perth in 1976, before relocating to Albany in 1980.

Since then Mr Moore has spent 33 years trying to find the most effective methods of protecting the environment from the harmful effects weeds pose to native ecosystems.

His work has raised public awareness of Albany's worst weed scourge, the Sydney golden wattle, and led to an ambitious eradication campaign.

"In 1986 there was basically none in the bush, but in a relatively short period of time it has gone rogue, " Mr Moore said.

"It is moving very fast and consuming about 270ha of bushland per year."

The jovial 60-year-old invented a revolutionary unmanned aerial device known as a quadcopter last year that can carry out search-and- destroy missions of the noxious wattle.

His work creating weed control publications, techniques and programs has earnt him many accolades, including a Medal for Excellence in Natural Resource Management in 2011.

"I also got the Council of Australian Weed Science Society medal about 10 years ago, which is given out to members of the weed community for contributing to weed science, " Mr Moore said.

He has also been involved with the Albany Bushcarers' Group since its inception 15 years ago and is the group's president.

Mr Moore said while farmers took care of agricultural weeds, plants that were pests in public areas were often left to thrive.

"Parks, bushlands and reserves are usually crown land and left to their own devices unless people get a bit proud about their spot with weed action groups and ensure native plants aren't being damaged with introduced species, " he said.

A highlight of his long and successful career was having a plant named after him in 1986.

"I had a type of dock (a common farm weed) named after me when I was looking at biological control of the species, " Mr Moore said.

"That was a highlight because rarely do you discover new plant species and it is even rarer these days to have one named after you, so that was an honour."

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