Aerial seeding helping Mother Nature in Broadwater National Park

National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) rangers took to the air this month to disperse over 20kg of native seeds over dunes at Broadwater National Park, near Evans Head, to revegetate areas to help control a destructive Bitou Bush weed invasion and rehabilitate the coastal strip.

Bitou Bush (Chrysanthemoides monilifera subsp rotundifolia), also known as Boneseed. From the Asteraceae family.

NPWS Ranger Brian McLachlan said aerial seeding is a tried-and-true technique to combat this highly invasive weed that smothers native plants and destroys natural habitat and food sources for native animals. 

“Using a helicopter we successfully dispersed from the air 16kg of Coast Wattle seed and 6kg of Coast Banksia seed over approximately 10.5km of Broadwater National Park’s coastal dunes,” Mr McLachlan said. 

“Timed just before the recent rain event, the aerial seeding took about an hour to disperse the seed onto the priority areas around the Salty Lagoon and dune blowouts in the north of the Park. 

“This operation equates to many years of labour intensive rehabilitation work all in one go.  

“Aerial dune sowing aims to inject some much needed life into the coastal strip and start to repair the extensive areas of damaged dunes along the Airforce Beach stretch of the beach. 

“This important work helps inhibit the occurrence of the Bitou Bush weed and enables rapid and effective native seed establishment. 

“This helps build resilience of the local ecology to future weed attacks,” Mr McLachlan said. 

The recent seeding work is a component of the Bitou Threat Abatement Program which is a state-wide program along NSW national parks of the east coast. 

Bitou Bush is one of Australia’s worst coastal weeds. Listed as a weed of national significance it affects 60 per cent of the NSW coastline. 

Photo for media: Flickr: Dune revegetation, Broadwater