In a bid to bring one of Australia’s worst coastal weeds under control, Bitou Bush infestations in Brunswick Heads and Billinudgel nature reserves and Bundjalung National Park will be targeted this May and June.
National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) Pest Management Officer Lisa Wellman said that this is the second year Brunswick and Billinudgel nature reserves have been targeted with aerial spraying, and the seventh year for Bundjalung National Park.
For public safety, temporary closures of areas to be sprayed will occur between the 17th May and 30th June.
Indicative closure dates are as follows:
- Bundjalung National Park 31st May – 4th June
- Brunswick Heads (north) and Billinudgel nature reserves 10th June – 18th June
“These closure dates are only indicative as operations are very weather-dependant. Spraying may occur on any day until the 30th of June,” Ms Wellman said.
“Brunswick Heads (north of the river) and Billinudgel nature reserves will be closed at the commencement of each scheduled spray day until the work is completed. The reserves will be reopened daily if conditions are not suitable for spraying.
“In Bundjalung National Park the temporary closures will affect Ten Mile beach from Goanna (Snapper) Headland to Shark Bay and Woody Head to Iluka.
“This will include access to Ten Mile Beach at Black Rocks and Shark Bay.
“Woody Head and Black Rocks camping area and Iluka Bluff are not within the treatment area and will remain open. Beach access at Black Rocks will be restricted while spraying is in progress.
“Aerial spraying enables us to control Bitou Bush over a broad area, which would otherwise be extremely difficult.
“Two years of concentrated control at Cape Byron and Broken Head have seen expanses of Bitou Bush turn into healthy regenerating headlands. The control has been so successful in these reserves that aerial spraying is not required this year.
“The 2009 aerial spray in northern Brunswick Heads and Billinudgel nature reserves was also highly effective, with 90% of Bitou Bush killed and no negative impacts on native species.
“Monitoring of the site has found that native plants have increased in size, number and variety on the fore-dune.
“A follow-up spray is crucial to enable native plants to continue reclaiming the sand dunes from the monoculture of Bitou Bush.”