This project is part of the Accelerating Hawkweed Eradication campaign to eradicate Orange (Hieracium aurantiacum L.) and Mouse-eared (Hieracium pilosella L.) Hawkweed in NSW. These noxious weeds are classified as Prohibited Matter under the NSW Biosecurity Act 2015, and they are currently confined within the Kosciuszko National Park (KNP). If these weeds spread beyond KNP, they could present a risk to both the biodiversity and pasturing land of south-eastern Australia. Specifically, it has been estimated that 27 million hectares of south-eastern Australia are susceptible to Hawkweed, and across NSW there is a potential grazing loss of over $66 million (NSW Environment Protection Authority, 2015).
One vector of spread for Hawkweed is on the footwear of walkers at KNP (Ansong & Pickering, 2014) and as such the installation and promotion of footwear cleaning stations may assist in reducing this spread. While weed hygiene practices, such as footwear cleaning and cleaning stations, are extensively studied in terms of pathways of weed spread (Ansong & Pickering, 2014; Coleman et al., 2011), less is known regarding the hygiene practices and attitudes of park users toward such stations (Gill et al., 2018). Visitors to KNP are increasing each year, meaning that a better understanding and engagement of visitor behaviours to facilitate greater weed hygiene practices will be an integral dimension to managing weed spread risks. In light of this, the aim of the current project is to provide behavioural and attitudinal insights into the use of footwear cleaning stations at KNP to understand and improve their efficacy.