The Daily Examiner

Spraying to beat bitou at Bundjalung

PARTS of Bundjalung National Park will be closed next month for aerial spraying, in a bid to bring one of the country's worst coastal weeds under control.

Access to Bundjalung National Park, including Ten Mile Beach from Goanna (Snapper) Headland to Shark Bay and Woody Head to Iluka, will be temporarily closed while the Department of Environment and Climate Change (DECC) undertake aerial spraying for bitou bush.

DECC spokesman Lawrence Orel said glysophate, an active component used in Roundup, would be distributed for Shark Bay at two litres per hectare by a low-lying helicopter in May.

“The right conditions and time of year are really important for accurate results,” he said.

“It's used at a low rate and used at period when native plants aren't actively growing.”

He said Iluka Bluff was a good example of past bitou management, with the weeds reduced in the area over the past 10 years through a combination of spraying and removing weeds by hand.

This year, camping areas at Woody Head and Black Rock will remain open during the spraying, although beach access to Black Rocks will be restricted. Iluka Bluff is not within the treatment area.

According to the CSIRO, bitou bush is the worst pest plant in the Australian coastal environment, restricting access to beaches and destroying native bush.

Impacts include a decline in native plant communities, floral biodiversity, and changes in the diversity of birds, mammals and ground-dwelling insects and harbouring pest animals.

Aerial spraying will take place at Bundjalung National Park from May 25 to 29 and June 9 to 12, weather permitting.

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