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Positive results in bitou bush project

North Coast Local Land Services is continuing to work on controlling bitou bush in the Byron Shire and one year on from the project’s commencement, the team are starting to see positive results.

Recent aerial surveys have revealed the project has been successful reducing the density of the introduced weed across 125 hectares of Byron coastline. Previously heavy and very heavy infestations of bitou bush are now recording medium and light densities.

Bitou bushBitou bush is a South African shrub which dominates and replaces coastal native vegetation and reduces habitat for native plants and animals.

Native plant species are returning and threatened species and vegetation communities are recovering. The pink nodding orchid, Geodorum densiflorum, is one example of a threatened species coming back as a result of the project. The removal of bitou bush has freed the resources the pink nodding orchid, and other threatened plants, need to germinate and grow.

Ocean Shores school excursion to bitou bush projectStage 1 of the project also saw 120 Ocean Shores Public School students participate in an excursion to learn about the invasiveness of bitou bush and how groups of volunteers are helping to support a national containment zone by preventing the weed species from re-colonising Queensland.

Melinda Cox, Senior Land Services Officer said of the school visit, “It is important to encourage the next generation to protect our precious environment from weeds such as bitou bush and it was great to not only see how excited they were to be involved, but their existing level of knowledge as well.”

The second year of the project is expected to further reduce bitou bush densities along the coast between the Tweed/Byron shire boundary and Cape Byron. Project partners include Byron Shire Council, Crown Lands, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and local Dunecare Groups.

The Beating Byron’s Bitou Bush Project is managed by North Coast Local Land Services with funding from the New South Wales Government through the Environmental Trust Program. If you would like more information about the project contact Melinda Cox on 6623 3925.

Media contact:

Melinda Cox, Senior Land Services Officer, 6623 3925

Photo caption:

Ian Parer from South Golden Beach Dunecare Group explaining to the students how volunteers like himself assist with the Bitou Bush National Containment Line.