Aerial spraying program gets underway

Published on 04 June 2019

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This year's annual Bitou Bush aerial spraying program is set to kick off on Monday 17 June and run through to Friday 28 June, weather permitting. Bitou Bush is an environmental invader of beach dunes and headlands, altering native coastal ecosystems.

The program, a joint collaboration between MidCoast Council and the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), specifically targets Bitou Bush (or Chrysanthemoides monilifera) a native to South Africa, which was widely planted in Australia in the 1950s and 60s to stabilise mined sand dunes. However, in 1999 it was listed as a threatening plant species and is now a Weed of National Significance, impacting about 80% of the NSW coastline (more than 900km).

Several areas on the coastal strip within the MidCoast region will be treated, from Crowdy Head south to Redhead.

The program will be carried out following recommendations contained in the ‘Best Practice Guidelines for Aerial Spraying of Bitou Bush in New South Wales’ published by the Department of Environment and Conservation.

The Guidelines are closely followed to ensure public safety and the areas treated are generally inaccessible to the public. The activity is also undertaken at a time of year when beach use is low. However, the teams will undertake extra measures to exclude any public exposure, such as closures of nearby public areas.

Sections of beaches and some adjacent camping areas, carparks and roads will be subject to short term temporary closures on the days when spraying occurs.

"Council staff will be on site during closures, and signage will be in place to advise people of these short closures," said Council’s Strategic Weeds Biosecurity Officer, Terry Inkson.

“The management of Bitou Bush aims to protect threatened plant species and endangered ecological communities that occur along the coastal strip. The aerial spraying of herbicides from helicopters is important as it allows us to treat steep or inaccessible sections of the coast, including remote stretches of beaches and headlands.” 

"The combined efforts of both Council and NPWS over the past decade have seen a huge reduction of mature Bitou Bush in managed areas," explains Mr Inkson. "However these ongoing treatments are necessary to control re-emerging juvenile plants and to bring previously unmanaged areas into the program".

For more information, contact MidCoast Council on 6591 7222 or NPWS on 6591 0300.