Weed management21 November, 2013 Notice of Motion No. 8.4. Weed and Pest Management Measures 13-621 Resolved:
1. That Council develop a Shire Wide Integrated Weed/Pest Management Policy for Council owned and managed lands, and a Shire Wide Integrated Weed/Pest Management Strategic Action Plan for Council owned and managed lands in consultation with Council staff, community and experts in the field.
2. That the following are included within the vision of the Integrated Weed/Pest Management Policy:
a) An aspiration to reach the goal of ceasing the use of all non organic chemical based herbicides and the repetitive use of all non organic chemical pesticides, in highly frequented, public use areas, within 5 years.
b) Consideration that non organic chemical herbicides are the least preferred, though currently are, at times essential management option, and the process of managing weeds and controlling vegetation should be undertaken in a way that minimises adverse effects.
c) Promotion of the concept of best practice weed management, taking an integrated approach to the control of weeds and vegetation, and uses methods that have the least potential to adversely affect human health and the environment while achieving the desired outcome.
d) A statement outlining desired outcomes of the Policy.
3. That an Integrated Weed/Pest Management Strategic Action Plan considers:
a) A non organic chemical use audit for weed control, including an outline of where it is used, the types used and the current budget of use.
b) Increasing native plantings as a method of weed control.
c) An updated report every two years outlining progress of the goal of ceasing the use of all non organic chemical based herbicides and the repetitive use of non organic chemical pesticides, within 5 years, impediments to this target and possible options that have arisen and that this report compares the relative environmental costs & benefits.
d) Within a review, the investigation of different possible management options, within different areas and ecosystems and a prioritisation of areas to be targeted.
e) Possible cooperation with Universities for selecting waterway sites to monitor and test the impacts of using non organic chemicals, possibly as a research project as a case study.
f) Investigation of further opportunities to make significant reductions in non- organic chemical use, for example, rate incentives for organic farmers and subsidising responsible non organic chemical use training for farmers.
g) Investigation of using one park or open space within the Shire as a ‘trial park’ to engage community support and test non chemical methods.
4. That as part of the development of the Integrated Weed/Pest Management Strategic Action Plan:
a) A report be brought to council, within two months, considering the immediate cessation of mowing and brush cutting of all roundabouts in the Shire and incremental replacement with site appropriate maintenance free landscaping and that the report includes budget implications.
b) A report be brought to council considering the implementation of an integrated weed/pest management program in all high use Council owned or managed public spaces, including parks, gardens, bus stops, schools, shopping areas, around signs and along natural water courses and drains within 6 months and that the report includes budget implications and an assessment of the applicability of non-chemical methods.
5. That Council writes to the NPWS:
a) Requesting assurances that no aerial spraying or broad scale ground based spraying residue can contaminate Council or private land adjacent to NPWS controlled land, nor will have any adverse impacts on native flora and fauna or human health in these areas.
b) Requesting they engage with the community to grow a community, ecological and non- chemical weed management group to assist with NPWS efforts to manage weeds in areas it is possible to do so.
6. That the funding for the proposed actions outlined, where not available in the 2013/14 budget, be considered for inclusion in the 2014/15 budget. (Richardson/Wanchap)
The motion was put to the vote and declared carried. Cr Cameron voted against the motion.
November 25, 2013
Byron Shire Council voted last week to aim to go chemical free within the next five years in a new shire-wide weed/pest management policy. The policy includes ending the use of all non-organic chemical-based herbicides and pesticides on all Council-owned and -managed land.
Byron mayor Simon Richardson said, ‘Our community needs confidence that our high-use areas do not use chemical herbicides unless it is absolutely necessary and there is no other viable alternative. For instance, this would include playgrounds and sports fields.
‘Using steam to eradicate weeds is already being embraced more and more by individual and organisational land owners. Council needs to keep up and embrace new technology that is sustainable for our shire.
‘While [the five-year target] is aspirational, we need to set a benchmark against which we can list our achievements and perhaps revise the target if needed. Let’s consider a trial in some locations and empower our community to pitch in and help when they are willing.’
Council will also be writing to the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) for assurances that no aerial spraying or broad-scale, ground-based spraying residue can contaminate Council or private land adjacent to NPWS-controlled land, along with a request that NPWS engage with the community to grow a community ecological and non-chemical weed-management group.