THE Illawarra District Noxious Weeds Authority is working with Wollongong City Council and Sydney Water to conduct aerial spraying at Puckeys Estate, Fairy Meadow, to reduce the invasive noxious weed, Bitou Bush.
Bitou Bush is a declared Noxious Weed throughout all coastal local government areas in NSW. It is overtaking remnant coastal vegetation in these areas and is dramatically reducing native flora and the habitat for native fauna.
Aerial spraying involves the use of low-level herbicides to reduce the weed in these reserves. Applied during winter at a low rate, the herbicides will not affect native plants.
The Wollongong operations which will involve approximately 75 hectares of Bitou bush are part of a much broader program extending to the Booderee National Park at Jervis Bay. Due to the limited access and infestation levels of this noxious weed at Puckeys, aerial spraying is considered the best method of control.
Follow up on ground maintenance will be undertaken at both sites where possible. Aerial spraying has been an integral part of containing the spread of Bitou bush since it was declared a noxious weed and Weed of National Significance in 1999.
It has since proven to be an outstanding success with a number of sites now only requiring annual on ground maintenance to keep the Bitou bush under control.
Funding for this year’s program comes from the NSW Department of Primary Industries and South East Local Land Services through the Australian Government’s “Contain and Connect” program – Protecting coastal ecosystems in southern NSW.
Council advises that all community members should avoid Puckeys when spraying is conducted. Warning signs and barriers will be erected at all sites prior to the spraying, with staff on hand to clear the areas and prevent unauthorised access during the spraying works.
Spraying has been scheduled for either Wednesday July 22 or Thursday July 23, subject to weather conditions.
For more information you can contact Illawarra District Noxious Weeds Authority Chief Weeds Officer on (02) 4233 1129