Weed Management Projects

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MidCoast Council manages a comprehensive weed management program across the region and is a member of the Mid North Coast Weeds Advisory Committee.  Visit our Weed Management page for general information about our work in this vital area.

Aquatic weeds are known to displace natural vegetation, destroy aquatic life and reduce habitat available to fish. Aquatic weed management remains a focus for us with a variety of high priority weeds such as alligator weed, amazonian frogbit and senegal tea plant infestations in the Karuah and Manning Catchments being monitored and managed where required under integrated weed management programs. 

We are strategically managing camphor laurel, a species that affects water quality through the toxicity in its leaves and out-competes native species on riverbanks, throughout the region.

Click on the tabs below to read about current initiatives and special projects where we need your help to manage weeds in the MidCoast.

While aerial spraying for weeds can raise fears for some people, it's part of a long established, regulated and approved program to help control weeds and protect our environment.  

The aerial spraying program for bitou bush has been in place for over a decade on the Mid North Coast and is a joint program between the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and MidCoast Council and is undertaken to protect threatened plant and animal species and endangered ecological communities that occur along the coastal strip.

The program is implemented following the ‘Best Practice Guidelines for Aerial Spraying of Bitou Bush in New South Wales’ published by the Department of Environment and Conservation.

"Aerial spraying of herbicides from helicopters has been identified as being the most effective solution to manage bitou bush in steep or inaccessible sections of the coast including vast and remote stretches of beaches and headlands" says Council's Strategic Weeds Biosecurity Officer, Terry Inkson. 

"Volunteers do a great job of assisting with manual removal of bitou bush, however other methods are necessary to target areas where it is too dangerous to send people to treat the weed.

"It's necessary to use a range of treatment methods to effectively control bitou bush. Aerial spraying is just one facet of a comprehensive integrated program, with other methods including bush regeneration techniques, physical controls, mechanical controls (including the use of fire), low and high volume spraying, and biological controls" said Terry Inkson.

Previous efforts over the past decade have seen a huge reduction of mature bitou bush in managed areas, however ongoing treatments are necessary to prevent reinfestation. At Hawks Nest alone, mature bitou bush has been reduced by around 96% allowing re-establishment of local native species since aerial treatments commenced in 2007.

Recent public comments by concerned residents about the chemicals used are also somewhat misleading, due to misinterpretation of technical data.  

"While we understand that people are always concerned about the use of chemicals in the environment, and rightly so, Council does not use chemicals unless they are approved for such use by relevant authorities and do so in accordance with best practice management guidelines, to ensure maximum efficiencies and safety" said Terry Inkson.

"For general community safety, as a precautionary measure, Council needs to implement buffer zones by restricting access to certain areas on beaches and in the water when this activity is occurring.  This is why we place signage and clear the areas for the duration of the activities" explains Terry. 

If you have concerns about the coastal aerial spraying program, please view our FAQs sheet(PDF, 3MB) .

If your question isn't answered there, you can ask our expert staff using the form below. We'll get back to you as soon as possible with a response.

Click here to view form.

Myall Lakes Catchment

Aquatic weeds were monitored and treated along 46 km of stream bank this year. The ongoing monitoring program has revealed significant reductions in densities and occurrences of the target weed parrots feather.

A 1.5 ha area of Alligator Weed received multiple treatments at the obsolete landfill area contained within Tea Gardens Waste Management Centre. This infestation is currently being managed under an intensive, ongoing, integrated weed management program. In Tea Gardens, 1.5 ha of salvinia-infested water bodies were treated. An integrated management program for longleaf willow primrose in drainage areas of Tea Gardens is ongoing.

Karuah and The Branch Estuary

Water hyacinth is an aquatic weed impacting twater bodies on numerous private properties in many localities throughout the floodplains of the Karuah Catchment, including Nooroo, Stroud Road, Washpool, Stroud, Booral and Allworth.

Along with private land managers, we have been undertaking ad hoc controls to manage this weed in various areas for many years, however a problem such as this requires an ongoing large scale coordinated approach to truly be effective. Due to many complexities the effectiveness of biological controls are limited.

We intend to form a partnership with affected land holders and seek external funding to implement a long term control strategy. Water hyacinth may rapidly take over an entire waterway and its large reproductive capacity can cause annual re-infestation thus making ongoing control necessary. There are new off label permits available for the use of certain herbicides to effectively treat Water Hyacinth on water bodies. Land managers should contact us for management advice.

Wallis Lake 

Amazon Frogbit is a floating freshwater plant from Central and South America, introduced into Australia as a decoration for fish ponds, aquariums and water features. It can rapidly invade and smother waterways and is a serious biosecurity threat.  See the separate section on this page below for more information.

The discovery of the aquatic weed near Forster was the first time Amazon Frogbit has been found in a natural area in NSW and triggered an emergency response to control the spread of the weed. We are working closely with Hunter Local Land Services, the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI), implementing management activities including treatments of the infestation ongoing monitoring and private property inspections. This project is ongoing and we are confident that a target of eradication is feasible.

Senegal Tea Spraying

The scheduled spraying of Senegal Tea along the banks of Gloucester River to the Manning River at Bight Bridge began on 5 February and will continue until the end of the month, weather permitting.

Spraying will cover both sides of the river, totalling about 160km of bank, that has been divided into 24 segments based on property boundaries along the stretch.

Council would like to remind affected residents that only qualified operators will be involved in the operation.

As a precaution, residents of these properties are urged to refrain from using, drinking or swimming in the water for 96 hours following the treatments.

This page will continue to be updated as the process continues and anyone interested can check back in for further information, weather reports and changes as they come to hand.

 Segment   Status   Depot Base   Start Address   Finish Address 
 1 Completed 4/2/19   Gloucester  488 Thunderbolts Way, Barrington   41 Bowman Farm Road 
 2 Completed 5/2/19  Gloucester  41 Bowman Farm Road  Relfs Road, Gloucester
 3 Completed 6/2/19    Gloucester Relfs Road, Gloucester  129 Beatties Island Rd, Tugrabakh 
 4  Completed 11/2/19  Gloucester  129 Beatties Island Rd, Tugrabakh   655 Bundook Road, Bulliac
 5 Completed 12/2/19    Gloucester  655 Bundook Road, Bulliac 655 Bundook Road, Bulliac 
 6 Completed 13/2/19  Gloucester  655 Bundook Road, Bulliac  895 Bundook Road, Bulliac
 7 Completed 20/2/19  Gloucester   895 Bundook Road, Bulliac  1120 Bundook Road, Bulliac
 8 Completed 20/2/19   Gloucester  1120 Bundook Road, Bulliac  1484 Bundook Road, Bulliac
 9 Completed 27/2/19  Gloucester  1484 Bundook Road, Bulliac 140 Doonayr Road, Bulliac
 10 Completed 1/3/19   Gloucester  140 Doonayr Road, Bulliac  229 Callaghans Creek Rd, Bundook 
 11 Completed 4/3/19    Gloucester  229 Callaghans Creek Rd, Bundook   Callaghans Creek Rd, Bundook
 12 Completed 18/2/19    Gloucester  Callaghans Creek Rd, Bundook 1553 Nowendoc Rd, Mount George 
 13 Completed 25/2/19    Gloucester  1553 Nowendoc Rd, Mount George 1037 Somerset Rd, Kimbriki 
 14  Completed 28/2/19  Gloucester  1037 Somerset Rd, Kimbriki  1453 Nowendoc Rd, Mount George
 15 Completed 27/2/19    Gloucester 1453 Nowendoc Rd, Mount George  98 Archinal Rd, Mount George
 16 Completed 28/2/19   Gloucester  98 Archinal Rd, Mount George  913 Kimbriki Rd, Mount George
 17 Completed 5/2/19    Kolodong  913 Kimbriki Rd, Mount George  462 Kimbriki Rd, Mount George
 18 Completed 5/2/19    Kolodong  462 Kimbriki Rd, Mount George 160 Kimbkiki Rd, Burrell Creek
 19  Completed 12/2/19  Kolodong  160 Kimbkiki Rd, Burrell Creek  111 Latimores Rd, Burrell Creek
 20  Completed 13/2/19  Kolodong  111 Latimores Rd, Burrell Creek  5 Moores Rd, Bootawa
 21  Completed 19/2/19 Kolodong  5 Moores Rd, Bootawa 160 Moores Rd, Bootawa 
 22  Completed 19/2/19  Kolodong  160 Moores Rd, Bootawa  163 Abbotts Road, Bootawa
 23  Completed 20/2/19  Kolodong  163 Abbotts Road, Bootawa   251 Abbotts Road, Bootawa 
 24 Completed 21/2/19  Kolodong  251 Abbotts Road, Bootawa   Bight Bridge, Wingham

 

Weed officers are calling on all local residents to check their home aquariums and ponds after the July discovery of the Amazon Frogbit aquatic weed near Forster triggered an emergency response to control the spread of the weed.

"This is the first time Amazon Frogbit has been found in a natural area in NSW (see the photo above) and is a significant find. The weed is classed as Prohibited Matter under the new Biosecurity Act 2015 and as a result an emergency response is now underway. Council is working closely with Hunter Local Land Services, the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI)" said Council's Strategic Weeds Biosecurity Officer Terry Inkson.

"Various activities have been implemented including a first pass treatment of the infestation and private property inspections in the immediate vicinity" said Terry.

Amazon Frogbit originates from fresh water habitats of tropical and subtropical Central and South America. Although in the early stages of establishment in Australia, these weeds have the potential to seriously degrade Australia’s ecosystems if left untreated.

The weed was found when a local bushwalker emailed Council photographs of a suspicious plant growing on a secluded pond in bushland near Forster. Council officers immediately followed up with an onsite visit and upon closer inspection the plant was confirmed to be Amazon Frogbit.

In Australia, the weed is often purchased illegally online, on sites such as Gumtree and eBay, by unsuspecting aquarium owners and can spread to natural waterways accidentally or via deliberate dumping of garden and aquarium waste.

"We're calling on local aquarium owners and those who have ponds or dams on their properties to assist us over the next few weeks to help eradicate Frogbit from our local area" says Terry. "If you suspect you might have found Amazon Frogbit, please contact us at once, on 6591 7222 for advice and a meeting.

There are extremely heavy fines for offences committed under the Biosecurity Act 2015. Even purchasing prohibited plants online could place you at risk. "However, we're more interested in locating and destroying this serious weed than penalising people who may have been unaware they were committing an offence" says Terry.

With this in mind, we are announcing an amnesty for anyone who calls us before 31 August 2017 - we will not fine you if you report the weed and all calls will be treated as confidential.

We advise consumers to "do your homework" before purchasing any plant online, as you could be purchasing prohibited matter.

Below: The Amazon Frogbit plant.

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Glyphosate is a popular broad-spectrum herbicide which works by inhibiting an enzyme found in plants. There are around 500 products containing glyphosate registered for use in Australia. Glyphosate has been registered for use for over 40 years. It is widely available over the counter of retailers and merchants for use by the general community and industry to manage vegetation in a wide range of situations.

MidCoast Council uses glyphosate as part of our management of weeds across our region.

We only use chemicals currently approved for use and use all pesticides in accordance with the label and permit requirements.

A variety of herbicides are used to manage specific weeds depending on the site conditions and we have a practice of alternating chemicals to manage herbicide resistance.

Toxicological and ecological reports contained within the material safety data sheet for the chemicals we use, and other supporting literature, indicates that when applied as per the directions there is a very low risk of either acute or chronic impacts from the use of these herbicides.

We continually keep up-to-date with advancement in pest plant technology and work with NSW DPI, the Hunter Weeds Advisory Group and other weed scientists.

Pesticides are assessed and registered by the Australian Pesticide and Veterinary Medicines Authority before they are permitted to be used in NSW. They regularly review the toxicology of glyphosate and its use in Australia and their current stance is that registered use of glyphosate in Australia, as per label instructions, is safe. Regulators in Europe, New Zealand, Canada and the United States hold a similar view.

The NSW EPA regulates the proper use of pesticides through the provisions of the Pesticides Act 1999 and associated regulations.

Many Commonwealth and NSW government agencies, as well as other stakeholder organisations, have a role in managing pesticides in NSW.

Council maintains an Environmental Protection licence issued by EPA under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act to spray over or near water.

Our Water Services division has a 12 month monitoring program for herbicides and pesticides in place with oversight from NSW Health. This commenced in July 2018.

All of our region’s drinking water sources have proven to be below the level of detection for herbicides and pesticides, except for the Karuah River at Stroud where Propachlor was detected – however this was still below the NSW Health limit. We continue to monitor the situation.