Bitou bush control successful despite false starts

THIS year's bitou bush program in Bundjalung and Broadwater national parks went smoothly, with more than 44kms and about 8000 hectares of coastline managed.

National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) Pest Management Officer, Lisa Wellman, thanked everyone for their cooperation in observing the reserve closures while the program was in progress.

"This was the eleventh year Bundjalung National Park has been targeted with aerial application and the fourth year for Broadwater," Ms Wellman said.

"Monitoring of the site has found that native plants have increased in diversity and cover on the fore-dune", she said.

"Follow up is crucial to enable native plants to continue reclaiming the sand dunes from the monoculture of bitou bush.

"While the operation was scheduled over four weeks, once the weather conditions were right the program was completed in two days.

"There were a few false starts as we waited for conditions to improve as in order to be effective the bitou plants must be dry and winds must be less than fifteen kilometres per hour.'

"Aerial application allows us to effectively and efficiently control bitou bush over this long section of coastline, which would otherwise be time consuming and difficult to access.

"The ongoing aerial applications combined with ground control have been highly effective and each year we have to control less area,' Ms Wellman said.

"Due to the effectiveness of aerial application much lower concentrations of chemical are used, compared to ground control.

"The bitou bush program is conducted by a NPWS helicopter which conducts weed control all around the state."

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