NPWS Takes to the Sky for Annual Bitou Bush Control

Media release: 9 May 2013

Annual control of bitou bush, one of the State’s worst coastal weeds, is set to get underway in Myall Lakes and Booti Booti National Parks, between 20 May and 31 July 2013.

National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) Great Lakes Area Manager Stephen Smith said the program is part of a larger integrated strategy to treat bitou bush in the internationally important Ramsar wetlands of the Myall Lakes and to protect threatened plant species and communities occurring in Myall Lakes and Booti Booti National Parks.

“The program is funded by the NPWS,the Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority (CMA) Partnership Program and the Federal Government’s Caring for our Country & Clean Energy Future Biodiversity Fund”, Mr Smith said.

“Since the program commenced 5 years ago we are seeing remarkable results in a reduction of bitou bush over the areas treated”, he said.

“Native plant recovery in these areas has been very successful which is a great outcome for conservation.

“Many areas which contained greater than 50% bitou bush density have been reduced to less than 10%, as a result of the aerial spraying program.

Some areas no longer require aerial spraying because there has been such a large reduction in bitou bush infestation.

“The control program is planned to commence the week of the 20 May weather permitting, and will involve treating steep and inaccessible sections of the coast in Myall Lakes and Booti Booti National Parks.

“For safety, NPWS staff will be at strategic locations throughout the park, and public access will be temporarily restricted to areas whilst the work is being undertaken. In most cases the closure of a beach or headland will occur for one day only.

“All headlands and beaches in the two national parks, including some adjacent camping areas, car parks and roads, will be subject to temporary closure at some stage between 20 May and 31 July. Visitors are asked to adhere to closure signs and directions given by NPWS staff”, said Mr. Smith.

Bitou bush infests up to 90 percent of NSW’s sandy coastline areas and was first recorded in the 1890s but did not become a major problem until it was used in revegetation works following sand mining in the 1950s and 1960s.

A native of South Africa, it is listed as one of the 20 Weeds of National Significance, and is a declared Noxious Weed and a key threatening process under the Threatened Species Conservation Act NSW.

For more information call the NPWS Great Lakes Area. Telephone 6591 0300.

Images of bitou control here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/48646673@N07/sets/72157627127839671/

Contact: Lawrence Orel

Page last updated: 07 March 2014