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Environmental

Drones deployed as mosquito season hits full swing

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Drones deployed in the Tweed for fighting mosquito

Drones deployed as mosquito season hits full swing

 

Council is trialling drone technology to treat mosquito populations as the insect’s breeding season takes full effect after recent heavy rain. It is also calling on the community to help reduce the impact of mosquitoes through a range of simple, protective measures in the home.

Council’s mosquito larvae management program has been in place for nearly 40 years and Tweed is the only local government area in the Northern Rivers with a regular larvae treatment program.

Council’s Senior Program Leader – Environmental Protection David Bell said Council’s pest management team employed a range of techniques to tackle the pest.

“Our program involves a wide range of techniques to beat mosquitoes including spraying large-scale breeding grounds from the air via plane or helicopter, when weather conditions allow,” Mr Bell said.

“Due to recent issues with contractor availability, Council is currently trialling different methods of arial mosquito larvae treatment such as the use of drone technology to treat certain known breeding areas.”

mosquito breeding.

Residents are urged to remove any water-holding containers from around their homes and gardens to help prevent mosquitoes from breeding.

Council began its drone treatment trials in Pottsville late last year, with further trials underway this week at Tumbulgum.

Treatment also began last week in the northern areas of the Tweed at Bilambil, Terranora, Cobaki and Piggabeen, with additional treatment scheduled across the Shire where required, during the mosquito-breeding season.

Mr Bell said the treatment used by Council was safe and did not affect other aquatic organisms.

“Our mosquito larvae treatment applies products targeting immature larval stages, which interrupts mosquito breeding and reduces the number of adult mosquitoes,” he said.

“Treatment is only effective when carried out at immature mosquito larval stages. The larvicide we use is specific to mosquitoes and several other closely related flies. It poses no harm to other aquatic non-target organisms.”

Council’s treatment program is regulated by NSW EPA, with its mosquito program supported by NSW Health. The program also monitors local mosquito populations to see if they are carrying diseases such as Ross River Fever and Barmah Forest viruses.

Mr Bell said while Council teams were doing what they could to treat local mosquito populations, residents could help by taking steps to prevent inadvertently creating perfect mosquito breeding grounds around their homes.

Drones deployed in the Tweed for fighting mosquito

Council is currently trialling drone technology to treat mosquito breeding areas across the Tweed. Contract drone operator Derek Pontorolo is pictured here ahead of treatment at Tumbulgum.

“While we are doing everything we can on the frontline to combat mosquito larvae, it’s important people understand the ways in which they can protect themselves and minimise localised population explosions,” Mr Bell said.

“Something as simple as having a small pool of stagnant water in the backyard can mean mosquitoes – which can lay up to 300 eggs at one time – become rampant within a small space of time.”

“One of the most effective ways to stop mosquitoes breeding nearby is to empty any water-holding containers such as pet bowls, pot plants and bird baths at least once a week.”

Other ways to protect yourself and your family include wearing insect repellent, covering up exposed skin and avoiding mosquito-prone areas such as bushland and wetlands – especially at dawn and dusk.

Further information

  • For more information about how to tackle mosquitoes, residents can view a range of helpful resources via the Tackling Mosquitoes Together website.
  • This campaign was co-designed with neighbouring councils and the community to combat the increasing number of mosquito-born diseases being reported across the region.
  • Further information on Tweed Shire Council’s mosquito program is also available on Council’s webpage at tweed.nsw.gov.au/mosquitoes-midges.

 

For more Tweed Shire news, click here.

Environmental

The ‘purple plague’ threatening our rainforests

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Miconia

The ‘purple plague’ threatening our rainforests

 

Rous County Council (Rous) is pro-actively taking steps to protect rainforests in the Northern Rivers region from Miconia – a highly invasive weed species that can cause devastating environmental damage if not reported in time.

Rous has launched a public awareness campaign asking the Northern Rivers community to contact them immediately with potential Miconia sightings.

Miconia quickly forms monocultures by shading out its competitors. It has caused widespread damage to rainforests internationally and is growing in the northern parts of Australia.

Although Miconia it is not currently established in New South Wales (NSW), it continues to be a serious environmental and economic risk to the region, according to Rhett Patrick, Weed Biosecurity and Bush Regeneration Manager, Rous County Council.

“Our Biosecurity team at Rous are dedicated to preventing Miconia from establishing locally and ruining our pristine rainforests, including the World Heritage-listed Big Scrub and Border Ranges National Park among many other important environmental sites,” Rhett Patrick said.

“Miconia thrives in tropical and subtropical areas. Our climate and terrain in the Northern Rivers provide the perfect environmental conditions for a potential outbreak.

Miconia

Miconia

“Commonly known as the ‘purple plague’ in Hawaii, it has wiped out natural forests by replacing the native vegetation. In Tahiti, it is estimated that Miconia has destroyed and invaded 65% of the island and endemic plant species are now directly endangered.”

Miconia seedlings are spread by birds that eat the fruit. A mature Miconia tree can flower and fruit three times per year producing up to five million seeds. These seeds can remain viable in the soil bank for up to 16 years.

Since 2003 almost 200 seedlings have been collected by Rous’ Weed Biosecurity Officers in the Northern Rivers.

“Although 200 known plants doesn’t seem like many, given how long the Miconia seeds remain dormant and how quickly it takes over, we cannot let our guard down.

“With the outbreaks our partners in Queensland are facing, we must ensure we continue to stay vigilant and prevent it from also taking hold in the Northern Rivers, NSW.

“However, we cannot take on this challenge alone. We need our community’s help with finding new, potential, locations so we can continue to stay on-top of this weed.

“If you think you may have seen Miconia growing in NSW, please contact Rous right away so we can stay one step ahead and stop the spread.”

To report potential sightings, the community is encouraged to call Rous on (02) 6623 3800 or visit here.

 

For more Rous County news, click here.

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Brunswick Heads News

Minister inundated, more than a thousand Save Wallum emails sent in 48 hours

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Save Wallum

Minister inundated, more than a thousand Save Wallum emails sent in 48 hours

 

The NSW Minister for Planning, Paul Scully, has been inundated with more than a thousand emails in the last 48 hours. Concerned residents of NSW are calling for him to exercise his explicit authority to refer the Wallum development at Brunswick Heads to the Federal Government a development  that will impact Matters of National Environmental Significance (MNES).

Greens MP and spokesperson for Planning and Environment Sue Higginson said “Communities across NSW are faced with disastrous developments that will clear habitat for threatened species and desecrate First Nations cultural heritage, the Wallum development is one of these,”

Greens MP and spokesperson for Planning and Environment Sue Higginson on Save Wallum

Greens MP and spokesperson for Planning and Environment Sue Higginson

“The NSW Minister for Planning has an express authority under Federal law to intervene in development proposals that will impact on threatened species, unfortunately he has refused to do this so far,”

“The wave of emails that have been pouring into the Minister’s email should be a clear sign to him and the Minns Labor Government that the community expects better than excuses when it comes to protecting the environment and cultural heritage,”

“The Minister should act now, take on board the clear community will to protect Save Wallum, and refer this development to the Federal Government for review,” Ms Higginson said.

 

For more Brunswick Heads news, click here.

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Environmental

Hazards Near Me updates to include severe weather warnings

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Hazards Near Me NSW App and Hazard Watch

Hazards Near Me updates to include severe weather warnings  

 

The New South Wales State Emergency Service (NSW SES) has launched the inclusion of severe weather warnings as part of the Hazards Near Me NSW App and Hazard Watch.  

Developed in partnership with the Department of Customer Service, the update to include another hazard will ensure more communities across NSW will be prepared during weather events.  

Minister for Emergency Services, Jihad Dib said the expansion of the app’s hazards was timely given we’re in the middle of Storm Season, which runs from September to March and typically sees an increase in storm activity.  

“Severe weather warnings and alerts are now available immediately on your phone or device. This is in addition to the warnings and alerts for fires, floods and tsunami that are already available on the platform,” Minister Dib said.   

“We know February is typically the busiest month for the NSW SES, and in February 2023, the NSW SES responded to 9,288 calls to the State Operations Centre. More than 4,200 of those calls were for storm damage in communities across the state.   

“This is why it’s so important to have severe weather warnings included as part of the suite of warnings available on the Hazards Near Me NSW app, Hazard Watch and the NSW SES website.”  

Hazards Near Me NSW App and Hazard Watch

Storm Warnings – City of Sydney NSW SES Unit

NSW SES Commissioner Carlene York APM said it had been an incredibly busy summer for volunteers, and urged the public to download the Hazards Near Me NSW app. 

“NSW SES volunteers have already responded to more than 4,600 incidents across the state since Christmas Day. The majority of those were for severe weather,” Commissioner York said.  

“Just last week North Western parts of NSW were experiencing severe weather, which resulted in storm warnings and minor flooding.  

“I would encourage anyone who hasn’t yet downloaded the app to do so and be prepared for whatever hazard may impact your community.”  

Department of Customer Service Executive Director of Government Technology Platforms, Reece Clementi said the app was a trusted source of information for the community to access warnings and advice during hazards 

“If you are one of the more than four million people who already have the Hazards Near Me NSW App, update your watch zone notifications to ensure you are receiving relevant warnings in real time for fires, floods, tsunami and now severe weather,” Mr Clementi said.  

The Hazards Near Me NSW App uses the nationally recognised Australian Warning System. There are three levels of warnings within this system including: Advice, Watch and Act and Emergency Warning. These same categories will now be used to keep communities safe and informed when severe weather is occurring nearby. 

For emergency help in floods and storms, call the NSW SES on 132 500. In life threatening situations, call Triple Zero (000) immediately.

 

For more environmental news, click here.

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