Veda Turner, Byron Bay
I note that we are again to be visited by the NPWS helicopter spray unit.
If NPWS think they are having success with this ‘strategy’, I beg to differ!
As a user of the ‘fishermans tracks’ on Cape Byron, I have noted the results of NPWS’s past aerial spray programs.
Initially most of the established bitou died, but within months new plants where establishing and within nine months there was as much bitou as previously.
I believe there have been two spraying programs in recent years. There has been some resurgence of native species, but aerial spraying is not effective in eradicating bitou on the cliffs at Cape Byron.
There needs to be a strategic backup program of some sort.
A more strategic approach with a hand-weeding component at critical times is the only way to get beyond the continual reliance on poison sprays.
Work has been done on the Cape by workers using harnesses and rope safety lines. This would allow systematic bitou control and probably be less costly than helicopters.
These programs are funded by taxpayers, and we are not getting good value.
A better plan is required, one which has a ‘spray-free’ future, not the current over-reliance on aerial spraying with all its risks, and nothing else!