WEATHER permitting, Bitou Bush control in Brunswick Heads and Billinudgel nature reserves, near Ocean Shores, will commence on Thursday.

National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) pest management officer, Lisa Wellman, said this was the second year Brunswick Heads and Billinudgel nature reserves had been targeted with aerial spraying.

“Brunswick Heads (north of the river) and Billinudgel nature reserves will be closed at the commencement of each scheduled spray day until the work is completed.

“The reserves will be re-opened daily if conditions are not suitable for spraying,” Ms Wellman said.

“The spraying itself should only take a few hours, but it is weather dependant so spraying may be delayed.

“Aerial spraying enables the control of Bitou Bush over a broad area, which would otherwise be extremely difficult.

“Two years of concentrated control at Cape Byron and Broken Head have seen expanses of Bitou Bush turn into healthy regenerating headlands. The control has been so successful in these reserves that aerial spraying is not required this year.

“The 2009 aerial spray in northern Brunswick Heads and Billinudgel nature reserves was also highly effective, with 90% of Bitou Bush killed and no negative impacts on native species.

“Monitoring of the site has found that native plants have increased in size, number and variety on the fore-dune.

“A follow up spray is crucial to enable native plants to continue reclaiming the sand dunes from the monoculture of Bitou Bush.

“Aerial spraying of Bitou Bush has been used effectively in NSW for over 20 years. Spraying is conducted in winter when the Bitou Bush is actively growing and the native plants are dormant.

“This results in the Bitou Bush absorbing the herbicide and dying while the native plants survive. A buffer zone will be put in place around threatened plants and waterways.

“Bitou Bush is one of the greatest threats to biodiversity on the NSW North Coast and one of 20 Weeds of National Significance.”

For further information contact the NPWS Tweed Area Manager ph: 6670 8600.

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