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Protecting habitat for small mammals

Greater Sydney Local Land Services (LLS) has joined forces with NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) to ensure important habitat for ground dwellers such as the Antechinus and New Holland Mouse are protected by aerial spraying weeds along cliff edges and cliff faces.

The aerial spraying was undertaken by a low-flying helicopter to control and prevent the coastal weed bitou bush from invading inaccessible sections along cliff faces in Bouddi National Park.

Aerial spraying of noxious weeds such as bitou bush is an effective technique in areas that are hard to access and where there are large expanses of weed. 

"Bitou bush is a native of South Africa, declared a noxious weed and is also listed as a Weed of National Significance (WoNS)," said LLS Team Leader, David Green.  

"We are pleased to be able to support NPWS to help stop this pest from invading cliffs and smothering native plants, there is an endangered ecological grassland community on the headlands in this area that also needs to be protected."

Deb Holloman, Bush Regeneration Coordinator for NPWS said "we use a low concentration of a herbicide that kills the bitou, an active grower in winter, while causing minimal damage to native vegetation, which grows slowly in the colder months."

"This technique has resulted in a better than 95 per cent control of bitou in a number of our parks, while native plants are largely unaffected," Ms Holloman said.

Spraying is only undertaken under ideal weather conditions with low winds to avoid the issue of spray drift. NPWS have been undertaking aerial spraying over the past 10 years as part of an integrated pest management program which includes on ground work by volunteers, contractors and NPWS staff and biological control.

This project was administered by Greater Sydney Local Land Services with funds from the Catchment Action NSW Program.