Weed management is an essential activity which safeguards our economy, environment and community. We manage weeds in accordance with the NSW Biosecurity framework and associated tools.
Under the Biosecurity Act 2015 everyone has a legal obligation to manage identified priority weeds on land that they own or occupy.
Council's role is to work with landowners and occupiers to help them meet their general biosecurity duty according to the Act. This includes:
- helping to identify priority weeds.
- providing advice and information on ways to manage weeds.
- providing displays at community events about weeds.
- an ongoing program of rural and urban inspections to check for priority weeds.
Weed management in the MidCoast area is conducted strategically on a priority basis, as available funds allow.
There's plenty you can do to help us manage weeds across the MidCoast and keep our natural environment beautiful! Our Landcare and Dunecare groups are always looking for new volunteers - find out more and register your interest on our volunteers page.
Visit our "Quick Links" to access information about projects currently underway across the MidCoast - and find out how you can assist.
About Priority Weeds
A "priority weed" is a plant that has been assessed to cause severe economic loss to agriculture and significantly impact our natural and recreational environments.
Priority weeds have been determined on State, Regional and Local levels.
Priority Weed Inspections
MidCoast Council undertakes routine inspections of all land throughout the region to identify priority weed growth.
We also provide assistance and information to landholders to help them discharge any Biosecurity Duty.
You can also ask us to inspect your property.
We always prefer the owner or occupier to be there during an inspection, this way we can give advice and answer any questions.
What happens if any priority weeds are found?
After an inspection we send a report with a list of the priority weeds found.
We also give you information about how to control weeds where possible.
If you don’t control the weeds as required, management may be enforced. This may include penalties and additional fees and charges.
See our Fact Sheet Noxious Weed Property Inspections(PDF, 64KB) for more information.
Other useful resources
Fact sheets & documents
NSW Government - Weeds and the Biosecurity Act(PDF, 595KB)
Weeds Management on Roads(PDF, 121KB)
Australian Weeds Strategy 2017(PDF, 726KB)
Hunter Regional Strategic Weed Management Plan 2017-2022(PDF, 5MB)
Garden Escapees and Other Weeds of Bushland and Reserves (2015)(PDF, 18MB)
For a list of priority weeds on a State and regional level, visit www.weeds.dpi.nsw.gov.au
Upload the "NSW WeedWise" app - free via the Android or Apple app stores.
Our use of pesticides
Our Pesticide Use Notification Plan sets out the process we follow to inform the community about pesticide use in the local area, including outdoor public places owned or controlled by Council.
Council ensures that pesticides are applied to public places in a safe, responsible manner, minimising harm to the community and the environment.
The plan allows members of the community to take action to avoid contact with pesticides, if they wish.
For more information, read the MidCoast Council Pesticide Use Notification Plan(PDF, 713KB).
Our position on glyphosate
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.
Read the APVMA position on glyphosate here.
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.
Aerial spraying for Bitou Bush
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.
Target: Aquatic Weeds
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.
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 water 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 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.
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.
Target: Senegal Tea Plant
Senegal tea plant, a native of the American continents, can float on still or very slow moving fresh water or grow as a bush on wet, marshy soils. It has been recorded at localised sites in most states. It is mainly spread by careless disposal of aquarium plants or deliberate cultivation for sale.
Because Senegal tea plant grows very quickly, it can rapidly cover water bodies with a floating mat, excluding other plants and animals that rely on them.
Approximately 80 km of rivers in the Manning catchment have been identified as infested with Senegal tea plant, from the lower reaches of the Barrington and Gloucester Rivers to Abbotts Falls on the Manning River, just south of Wingham.
Although Senegal tea plant has reached the known tidal limits of Abbotts Falls, there is a concern that future flood events could spread the infestation further downstream in the Manning River, as little is known about the plants ability to survive in brackish water. Should the Senegal tea plant infestation go unchecked, serious economic and environmental damage could occur.
Because of the potentially serious impact of Senegal tea plant on the environment, water resources, primary industries, tourism and recreation, we’re committed to control programs for this weed.
Target: Camphor Laurel
We’re working with partners on an exciting new trial to sterilise weed trees that may allow us to protect Australian bush habitats while keeping our significant historic trees in towns. Many grand old trees in the streets and parks of our towns, including popular introduced species like camphor laurels and African olives, were planted over a hundred years ago, before anyone was aware of the damage exotic species would do to the beautiful and unique Australian bushland.
But they've grown on us - literally! Generations of family photos and community events feature these trees that stand proudly today. Unfortunately, each year, they send their seeds far and wide, crowding out the natives. This has devastating effects on native wildlife as natural food sources are squeezed.
MidCoast Council is leading a ground breaking trial project in Australia and working with local neighbouring Councils, the Hunter Local Land Services and NSW Department of Primary Industries, that involves 'sterilising' the old trees so they no longer produce seeds.
The $150,000 project is funded by the Australian Government, Department of Agriculture and Water Resources through their 'Control Tools and Technologies for Established Pest Animals and Weeds Program'. Products that are currently registered for use in the USA are being trialled in Australian conditions, in various locations, potentially leading to registration for commercial use in Australia.
The project involves trialling the application of certain chemicals to trees, via foliar spraying and injection. Treatments are undertaken at flowering time of the individual species being targeted to cause flower drop, arresting the production of seeds. If the trial is successful, we can retain many trees that may be viewed as significant.
What weed is that?
Identifying and controlling the weeds in your garden is a fantastic way you can 'do your bit' to keep the MidCoast beautiful, preserve our native species, and even safeguard our economy!
The tools on this page can help you to check for priority weeds in our region, and contain great tips for effective removal of these pests.
Go to the local guide
Trying to identify something in your garden? Or want to know the best removal technique? This resource is a great start!
Garden Escapees and Other Weeds of Bushland and Reserves (2015)(PDF, 18MB)
Get the app
The NSW WeedWise app provides key information to help users reduce the impact of noxious and environmental weeds in New South Wales. The app profiles over 300 weeds, describing their legal requirements under the Noxious Weeds Act 1993, control information and registered herbicide options.
Click here to access via Google Play for Android devices
Click here to access via iTunes for iPhone and iPads
Try the web
We recommend the PlantNet site.
Quick guides to our most 'unwanted' MidCoast weeds
These invaders are on our hit list! If you have any of these in your garden, take action now!
Ochna "Mickey Mouse Plant"
Cassia 'Winter Senna'
Mother of Millions
These guides have been produced in assistance with our partners: