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Byron Shire
October 8, 2022

Help needed to eradicate Bitou bush

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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.byronshirechemicalfreelandcare.org

Iris Ray Nunn, Byron Bay

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  1. Short term illogical thinking rules. Pioneer Bridge, on Wilson Creek road, has been sprayed at least 4 times over the past couple of years. Next to the running creek concerned locals notice that after each spraying the so called mis-placed plants just grow more vigorously. Why not hire a few dedicated chemical free locals to hand weed and replant with suitable indigenous plants ? Give them guardianship of the site and from that local pride will spread. Also I would like to know the exact cost of the herbicides/pesticides and the wages of the workers whose odious task is to administer these poisons. Also how much does Byron Council allocate to herbicides in their budget?

    Congratulations and gratitude to all the chem free workers/volunteers. One day your efforts will be honoured.

  2. you guys are … ill informed. aerial spraying is really effective. it is one of many tools required if we have a chance to get rid of this horrible weed. sorry, I have had experience in doing it hands on and like lantana, the most effective and sustainable way to do it is using glysophate.


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