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Bitou Bush Battle Waged from Air

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The Illawarra District Noxious Weeds Authority (IDNWA) is set to continue its battle against Bitou Bush when it once again takes to the skies for its annual aerial spray control program.

Aerial spraying is being used in the region to control some of the most serious outbreaks of the weed, recognised as one of 20 Weeds of National Significance.

The program will involve the aerial spraying of approximately 110 hectares of Bitou Bush throughout the Wollongong and Shellharbour council areas.

IDNWA Chief Weeds Officer, David Pomery, said that aerial spraying was the only practical and feasible method to control the heaviest and most inaccessible infestations of Bitou Bush found within each of these areas.

More than 75ha of Bitou Bush will be sprayed at Puckey’s Estate, North Wollongong and at the northern and southern ends of Port Kembla Beach within the Wollongong City council area. Ten hectares will be sprayed within Killalea State Park at Shellharbour and a further 25ha of Bitou Bush will be sprayed at Bass Point Reserve.

“Applied during winter and at very low rates, the aerial application of Round-up selectively controls the Bitou Bush, leaving the native vegetation unharmed” Mr Pomery said.

“Already in excess of 200 species of native plants are tolerant to the herbicide when applied by this method”.

Aerial spraying of Bitou Bush was first undertaken at Jervis Bay National Park in 1984 and within the Illawarra in 1992 at Hill 60 Port Kembla.

It has since proven to be an outstanding success.

The spraying will be undertaken in June and follows the development of National, State, Regional and Local Action Plans aimed at controlling Bitou Bush infestations by best practice methods.

Alternative methods of control involving on-ground works and biological control will also be undertaken throughout the region as part of an integrated approach to tackling the Bitou Bush problem.

On the day of spraying IDNWA employees will ensure that all members of the public are cleared from the sprayed areas and all access roads and walkways closed.