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 100 hectares of Bitou Bush throughout the Wollongong, Shellharbour and Kiama 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 in each of these areas.
More than 80ha of Bitou Bush will be sprayed at Puckey’s Estate, North Wollongong and at the northern and southern ends of Port Kembla Beach and on nearby Hill 60 within the Wollongong City council area. Ten hectares will be sprayed within Killalea State Park at Shellharbour and a further 10ha of Bitou Bush will be sprayed along the cliff lines between Gerringong and Gerroa.
“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 in the Illawarra in 1992 at Hill 60 Port Kembla.
It has since proven to be an outstanding success.
The spraying will be undertaken in early 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.