Time to address Bitou Bush in the Umina Beach Dunes

Bitou Bush flowering yellow

The spread of Bitou bush in the Umina Beach Sand Dunes, between the Ocean Beach, and Umina Beach Surf Clubs, in some areas is currently uncontrolled and severely impacting Native plants and animals.

There are acres of yellow flowering Bitou bush growing over the top of and smothering, Lomandra (Aboriginal basket grass), native spinifex, tea tree and introduced Wattles.

It is eradicating burrowing macro fauna sand crabs, thus detrimentally impacting this food source of Kestrels and Kookaburras.

This is occurring despite the allocation of many thousands of dollars in funding from the State Government and Central Coast Council, over at least five years to address sand dune maintenance.

Bitou bush is unique in it’s Weed of National Significance status as a purely environmental weed, listed as a key threat to biodiversity, affecting a range of native species.

A recent assessment of the biodiversity at risk in New South Wales showed that Bitou bush posed a significant threat to over 150 native plants and 24 different coastal vegetation communities.

Bitou bush (Chrysanthemoides monilifera ssp.rotundata) and the closely related boneseed (ssp.monilifera) being recognised together as one of the 20 Australian Weeds of National Significance (Thorp and Lynch 2000).

The NSW Scientific Committee has listed the invasion of native plant communities by Bitou Bush as a key threatening process impacting both native plants and animals.

Authorities in all states of Australia are so concerned about the spread of Bitou bush, cut plants must be left to decay on site; it is illegal to transport Bitou bush in all Australian states.

It was stipulated in the Noxious Weeds Act 1993, the growth and spread of Bitou bush in the Gosford Local Council Area, must be controlled in accordance with measures specified in a management plan published by the local control authority.

Perhaps it is time Central Coast Council listened to local residents, and changed its strategy on the Umina Beach Dunes.

A strategy away from reducing wildflowers such as Gazania, to concentrate on eradication of noxious weeds, such as Bitou bush and Lantana which impacts biodiversity in NSW and is also listed as a Weed of National Significance.

Following our wet summer Bitou bush and noxious weeds are fast consuming the Umina Beach Dune area.

The longer the eradication program is delayed, the worse the problem will become.

Email, Apr 17
Kevin Woods, Umina Beach

4 Comments on "Time to address Bitou Bush in the Umina Beach Dunes"

  1. Kerry Naughton | April 24, 2022 at 7:31 pm |

    I agree that it is time to make the eradication of Bitou bush on the sand dunes of the Central Coast a priority. I think this needs to be done at all Central Coast dune sites in a coordinated way as this weed will continue to spread from other affected sites along the Central Coast. I work with a very small group of people trying to get rid of this weed at North Shelly Beach and I would be interested to see the council plan for the eradication if you have any information on this. Thankyou Kerry Naughton Bateau Bay

  2. Sadly I have watched the sad decline of our beautiful beach over the last twenty years, due mainly to so called experts trying to turn our beach into bushland which has become overgrown by scrubby wattle, Bitou Bush and Asparagus Grass
    It is a haven for feral animals such as rats and snakes and stray cats. It is also used as a toilet and other activities of feral people trying to hide.

  3. George Weakely | May 7, 2022 at 4:14 pm |

    I totally agree, Bitou bush and Lantana is becoming a real problem not only at Umina Beach, but also at other beaches on the Central Coast. I remember back in time, after the introduction of the Noxious Weeds Act, the old Gosford Council used to poison Bitou with backpack sprays, and would manually dig it out with hand held hoes. Now it seems it is just left to prosper. What is the Central Coast Council’s plan to fight Bitou on the Coast?

  4. Kevin Woods | May 8, 2022 at 3:29 pm |

    From the Central Coast Council Website, Environment, pests and weeds, weed control; Changes to NSW legislation in 2017 saw the former Noxious Weeds Act, 1993, replaced by the Biosecurity Act and Biosecurity Regulation.
    Weeds management is now a shared responsibility with all landholders ensuring they are not allowing new weeds to take hold on their land. There is no mention of controlling weeds on council land such as dune areas.
    The Bitou Bush Biosecurity Zone is established for all land within the State except land within 10 kilometres of the mean high water mark of the Pacific Ocean between Cape Byron in the north and Point Perpendicular in the south. Cape Byron near Byron Bay, and Point Perpendicular near Jervis Bay in the South Within the Biosecurity Zone this weed must be eradicated where practicable, or as much of the weed destroyed as practicable, and any remaining weed suppressed. The local control authority must be notified of any new infestations of this weed within the Biosecurity Zone.
    So it appears that within 10 kilometers of the coast, Bitou Bush is not regulated by the Biosecurity Act No. 24 of 2015. Hence my contention that where public purse funding is available to maintain weeds in the dune areas on the Central Coast, it makes sense to spend that money on the control of the declared noxious weeds Bitou bush and Lantana to prevent environmental damage, and not spend the money eradicating Gazania wildflowers.

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