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New Chilean needle grass site found

New Chilean needle grass site found

The Chilean needle grass (CNG) search programme by Environment Canterbury Biosecurity has discovered a new site on a property in the Spotswood area.

Chilean needle grass (nassella neesiana) infests approximately 280 hectares of land in North Canterbury and the new find brings the total number of properties with CNG to 10.

Capable of invading much of Canterbury’s dry hill country, Chilean needle grass threatens sheep farming viability with its sharp needle like seed head causing wool, meat and pelt damage as well as animal welfare issues.

Environment Canterbury’s Principal Biosecurity Advisor Laurence Smith says that the on-going awareness campaign has created a good response from the public.

“With more than a dozen potential sightings, the new find highlights the importance of Environment Canterbury’s surveillance programme. Nine of Canterbury’s 10 known CNG sites have been found by our Biosecurity staff”.

“The latest discovery of a small number of Chilean needle grass plants is important and the ability for early intervention is critical,” says Mr Smith.

Since the discovery all plants have been controlled at the site and further search undertaken with no other sites found.

A large component of Environment Canterbury’s’ Chilean needle grass management programme is raising the public’s awareness of CNG and the threat it poses to farming, encouraging the reporting of possible new sites and ensuring people learn to identify the plant.

Environment Canterbury and the Chilean Needle Grass Action Group are encouraging anyone concerned about Chilean needle grass who wants to be involved in decisions on the management of CNG to attend a public meeting at the Cheviot Trust Hotel on Monday 18 February 2013.

The meeting will elect a Chilean Needle Grass Pest Management Liaison Committee whose role it will be to liaise between the community and Environment Canterbury on management issues.

ends

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