Bitou Bush control on infestations in the rugged and inaccessible headland areas at Cape Byron and Broken Head was successfully completed last week.

National Parks and Wildlife Service Byron Coast Area Manager, Sue Walker, said that it was pleasing to see the works completed smoothly as it had taken many months of assessment and planning.

“Cape Byron is a much-loved and environmentally sensitive area, so we had to ensure that the operation was conducted absolutely according to best practice guidelines and environmental protection regulations,” Ms Walker said.

“The environmental assessment led to us using Metsulfuron methyl to control the Bitou Bush in preference to other herbicides, such as Glyphosate (Roundup).

“The main advantage of this herbicide is that it is completely safe for native grasses, which are one of the Endangered Ecological Communities we are trying to protect from Bitou Bush invasion.

“Metsulfuron methyl is non-volatile, water soluble and biodegradable.”

Ms Walker said the rates of herbicide used were lower than the rates used for ground spraying.

“Cape Byron and Broken Head are ranked second and third in the Statewide priorities for Bitou Bush control in the Threat Abatement Plan prepared under the Threatened Species Conservation Act,” she said.

“This outlines actions to reduce the impacts of Bitou on biodiversity, particularly threatened species and endangered communities.

“This makes it imperative to stop this invasion — extensive environment assessment shows that the best way to do that effectively is to target the hard-to-reach infestations on the headlands by aerial spraying.

“Monitoring has already commenced so that we can measure the success of our control efforts.

“A study of the headland area at Cape Byron showed that there are a huge number of native species lying in wait under the Bitou Bush.

“Removing the weeds that currently shadow them will give them a chance to regenerate.

“People who visit Cape Byron in the next few weeks may notice the dead Bitou, however, closer inspection will show the native plants pushing up through them now with a chance to grow.

“Ground control by bush regenerators will be continuing to enhance the important biodiversity values of the area.”