Bitou bush spraying in final stage



THE next and possibly final stage of a bitou bush aerial spraying eradication program on the Tweed Coast is due to begin this week.

The spraying will be conducted over about 200 hectares of public land on Wednesday or Thursday, depending on weather conditions, between the Tweed/Byron boundary and Fingal Headland.

It is a joint operation between Tweed Shire, the Tweed-Byron Local Aboriginal Land Council, the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the NSW Lands Department and the Far North Coast Weeds group.

NPWS Tweed manager Leonie Walsh said this was the second year Billinudgel, Wooyung and Cudgen Nature Reserves had been included in the aerial spraying.

"The spraying last year was very effective and we expect that following this year's operation most of the control work will be able to be done from the ground," Ms Walsh said.

"Reseeding and replanting of native species will follow in sever- al locations, using local seed and locally sourced and grown trees."

Ms Walsh said bitou bush was the worst coastal weed in NSW and one of 20 Weeds of national significance.

"The Tweed Coast contains many rare and threatened species that are potentially under threat from bitou invasion."

Ms Walsh said aerial spraying was the most effective method of bitou control, done during the cooler months when the bitou is most susceptible and native plants are less able to absorb herbicides.

She said bitou herbicide had been developed for minimal impact on aquatic species. Natural water bodies and sensitive vegetation species would be excluded from the aerial spraying and may be treated later with ground spraying.

To ensure public safety, roads and beaches may be closed for 15 to 20 minutes while aerial spraying is in progress. No spraying will take place over private prop- erty or buildings.



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