In late August a group of concerned locals, some of whom are experts in bush regeneration, occupied the coastal dunes north of Byron Bay and effectively stopped the aerial spraying of chemicals that are used to kill a weed called Bitou bush. Bitou was introduced over 40 years ago to stabilise the dunes after mining de-stabilised them.
Unfortunately we have only stopped the aerial spraying temporarily, as National Parks and Wildlife plan to continue spraying. They also refuse to meet with us to discuss a proposal to work together and implement ecological restoration in Tyagarah Nature Reserve. This process of restoration uses ‘crowning technique’ that does not require chemicals or a lot of cash.
NPWS said crowning Bitou bush isn’t effective and boom spraying of Bitou with pesticides by ground and aerial methods is very efficient. (Although on record NPWS cannot guarantee that it is 100% harmless.) NPWS plan to continue with their method despite public outcry. Police may possibly be called to remove concerned locals if we continue to interfere with the plan to chemical spray.
Byron Shire Chemical Free Landcare (BSCFL) has three years’ experience of crowning the Bitou bush on 4.5 hectares at Brunswick Heads and it is effective. This method is proven to be safe and achievable by engaging community groups. So BSCFL and all other concerned locals have decided to disobey the NPWS direction to stay out of the dunes and will continue the non-violent direct action of crowning the Bitou by hand working every second Saturday with the vision for a ‘win-win’ outcome in the future with NPWS.
Please get involved if you are a concerned citizen regarding pesticide being used on public spaces and sacred sites like Tyagarah Nature Reserve.
Contact Iris 0417937720 or Nadia 0478272300 or visit www.
Iris Ray Nunn, Byron Bay