The core role of the County Council is the enforcement of General Biosecurity Duty of land occupiers in the County Council’s area of operation and the control of Invasive Plants on Council lands. The County Council trades as Upper Hunter Weeds Authority (UHWA) with its administration office located in the Muswellbrook Shire Council Administration Centre, 157 Maitland Rd, Muswellbrook, New South Wales.
The diverse range of climatic conditions within the region exposes it to large range of invasive plants which have the potential of establishing themselves within the region. The weed species that have this potential to become a serious threat include Harrisia Cactus, African Olive, Serrated Tussock and Chilean Needle Grass in the upper reaches of the Hunter Valley and Cabomba, Senegal Tea, Alligator Weed and Salvinia in lower parts of the Upper Hunter.
Along with climate variation, the risk of new weed incursions occurring within the region is compounded by the presence of major freight and transport corridors, New England & Golden Highways and Northern Rail Line. In excess of 10,000 vehicles, of which approximately 1,800 are heavy vehicles, pass through the region daily. The region’s rail system transports over 100 million tons (109mt in 2016*) of coal annually as well wheat and other agricultural produce from the Northern NSW The region is also the location of two major Australia Defence Force facilities, the Infantry Training School at Singleton and Myambat munitions storage centre located near Denman. Both of these facilities receive and dispatch personal and equipment to various Defence Force bases and training sites throughout the eastern states of Australia.
The Upper Hunter also contains a highly developed viticulture industry, is a major breeding centre for the Thoroughbred Horse Industry and home to extensive grazing and dairy enterprises. The region currently has 20 operational coal mines, most using the open cut method of extraction. Land which is undergoing rehabilitation after this mining practice is particularly vulnerable to invasion from invasive plant species.
The region also has a number of aquatic features at risk from new invasive weed incursions. These features include the Hunter & Goulburn Rivers, which transverse the region and three major water impoundments, Glenbawn Dam, Lake Liddell and Lake St Clair.