40th Anniversary of ‘Bashing Bitou’

Sue Baker, Bitou Bush Eradication Coordinator, NPA Mid North Coast Branch

On May 18th 2019 Mid North Coast Branch will celebrate a milestone forty years of bush regeneration in Crowdy Bay National Park. The celebration will be held during the annual bush regeneration camp from 13-19 May at beautiful Kylies Beach.

Before the park’s creation the area was sand mined and when operations finished, sown with the dreaded South African Bitou Bush (Chrysanthemoides monilifera). Its spread was rapid including onto the iconic Diamond Head. The then park ranger Mike Dodkin (still involved to this day) suggested that to address the negative perception by some in the community of the Branch’s strong involvement in the campaign to save the north coast rainforests from logging, they take on a positive on-ground project namely to eradicate Bitou Bush from Diamond Head.

Forty years later and the project has spread north, south and west of the headland involving numerous government grants, aerial spraying of bitou, on ground contractor work and thousands of labour hours from NPWS, the Branch and other volunteers.

Sue Baker, coordinator for the past 20 years said, ‘I gave up counting the in-kind and cash contribution from the groups’ contributions when it reached $2 million between 2001-2006! Ditto the number of bitou plants removed when it reached 250,000 many years ago. Twenty-four kilometres of fore dune, including crown land to the park’s north, have been intensively regenerated, together with hind dune littoral rainforest and several other habitats involving all weed species present.

The project is recognised nationally as not only highly successful but as Australia’s longest running Bitou Bush eradication project. It is a glowing example of what can be achieved through determination and perseverance and by establishing strong partnerships.

NPA members who would like to attend the 2019 camp and celebration can phone Sue on 6559 7134.

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