Bitou bush invades coastal dunes and prevents native species from growing and providing habitat.
Bitou bush invades coastal dunes and prevents native species from growing and providing habitat.

A helping hand to beat bitou bush

NORTH Coast Local Land Services urged all landholders in the Byron Shire to control bitou bush on their land, after surveys have shown it has been on the decline after it was treated between Cape Byron and the Byron/Tweed shire boundary.

The project - Beating Byron's Bitou Bush - was managed by North Coast Local Land Services and brings together a range of partners, including Byron Shire Council, Crown Lands, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and local Dunecare Groups.

It was made possible with funding from the New South Wales Government through the Environmental Trust Program.

Bitou bush was a South African species planted in Australia between the 1940s and 1960s to stabilise sand dunes after mining.

It was so successful at colonising the dunes that by 2001, the weed had replaced coastal native vegetation along 80% of the New South Wales coastline.

Recent aerial surveys and on-ground tactics have revealed the project has reduced the density of the weed across 250 hectares of the Byron Shire coastline.

The aim was to control the bush across 350 hectares, with one year to go.

The project was also helping Byron Shire landholders in the newly established bitou bush biosecurity zone to meet their new biosecurity obligations.

All landholders from Cape Byron to the Queensland/NSW border are required to remove and control bitou bush, which went into force July 1 this year.

Prosecutions apply if landholders don't comply with the requirements of the bitou bush biosecurity zone.

Once the project in the Byron Shire ends in June 2018, landholders will be required to perform this work on their own.

If you are located within the zone and would like advice on identifying and treating bitou bush, please contact Melinda Cox on 6623 3925.

For advice on the new biosecurity regulations and bitou bush biosecurity zone, contact Rous County Council on 6623 3800.



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