New Brighton chemical free dunecare
On Wednesday, 28th of September, Byron Shire Chemical Free Landcare is starting a new chemical-free bush regeneration site at New Brighton. The event will bring together BSCFL volunteers under the supervision of local bush regenerator Nadia de Souza Pietramale, the local Green Army Team supervised by John McVicar from Envite, Byron Shire Council bush regeneration team under the supervision of John Leedom, and Victor Pires, a chemical-free bush regeneration contractor. Special guest of the day will be Ellen White who developed the present Bitou Bush Crowning method. All welcome to join from 8 am, meet at the first beach access area on North Head Road – tools are available.
The Bitou Bush crowing method, has been applied successfully by BSCFL on 5 hectares of dunes at Brunswick Heads crownland south of the Surf Club. A small group of volunteers has been working on the site for the past 6 years. “We have another 0.3 ha of primary work to do here, south of the horse track where it joins the Tyagarah Nature Reserve, recently sprayed with synthetic herbicides by contractors for the National Parks Service”, explained Nadia.
The area of the new site is also about 0.3ha and is under the management of Byron Shire Council. Houses here are close to the beach and Bitou Bush is growing all over back yards. This is the area that generated a large protest by locals in 2009 when it became known that Council intended to aerial spray it. Most of the area up to the houses has been ground-sprayed since. “I guess it is a bit too sensitive to spray resident’s back yards so we have been offered the job” Nadia explained.
Early this year the group was approached by Melinda Cox, Senior Land Services Officer, Investment North Coast Local Land Services, to inform the BSCF volunteers that the site where they work was within the area from Byron to Tweed subject of a 3 year $100,000 grant for Bitou Bush control. When the volunteers asked if some of the funds could be used for chemical-free control, Ms Cox said it had already been allocated for contract spraying.
BSCFL expressed their disappointment and told Ms Cox that in 2012, BSCFL had provided NPWS with a proposal to work voluntarily in Tyagarah Nature Reserve using the crowing method. Ms Cox said that she would find another site for us to work in. The offer from Council staff came after another refusal from National Park to allow BSCFL to work on Tyagarah Nature Reserve.
‘We remain seriously concerned about the continuous use of synthetic herbicides by NPWS in Tyagarah Nature Reserve. There are well-known risks of water pollution and a very poor research base with regard to the impacts of these poisons on the local environment.”
BSCFL has accepted to work in the New Brighton site because we believe that our lands have to be treated with respect. This is also another opportunity to show-case the success of our methods – we see no difference between keeping our bodies and the land healthy. Manual work may take a bit longer (though this has not been researched for the long term), but initial speed can have a very detrimental effect on wildlife which may suddenly find itself homeless.
Costs have also been poorly calculated. “Until someone presents a cost analysis which properly takes into account the effects of synthetic herbicides on water, soils, plants, and animals as well as costs to human health, including cancer treatment and the loss of loved ones, I remain convinced that their use is too expensive”, Nadia concluded.
New Brighton chemical free dunecare