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Keen to help in restoring regional biodiversity?

The continuing national trend towards biodiversity decline, seen in disappearing habitats, rising numbers of threatened species and compromised fresh and coastal water poses a massive challenge to New Zealand to which the greater Wellington region is not immune.

Forest cover across the region has fallen from 98 per cent of cover to just 28 per cent since human arrival and only less than three per cent of its wetlands remain. Pest animals and plants continue to undermine the quality of what’s left and many native species struggle to survive.

“Stabilising and ultimately reversing the damage done to our environment is at the heart of what we do at Greater Wellington, but realistically the whole of our community must get involved if we are to turn things around,” says Greater Wellington General Manager, Catchment, Wayne O’Donnell.

Greater Wellington Regional Council is therefore looking for people with experience in environmental improvement to help develop and drive a biodiversity framework aimed at restoring thriving ecosystems and biodiversity.

“We’re looking to bring together interested and active parties within the Wellington region to better coordinate our efforts and achieve measurable gains for biodiversity conservation.

“No single agency or group can do the job. So we are working towards establishing a Collaborative Working Group to develop a Regional Biodiversity Framework that would be a partnership between Greater Wellington, mana whenua, the Department of Conservation, local authorities, the wider community and many other groups and organisations.

“Working together in a collaborative regional framework is likely to give us a better chance of developing a shared vision for biodiversity management, a greater awareness of the need for more action and a better, more coordinated response to reversing decades of environmental degradation,” says Wayne.

The project was started by Greater Wellington in partnership with mana whenua and the Department of Conservation last year. The call for volunteers for the Collaborative Working Group follows a series of workshops held on the subject, where the idea of a Regional Biodiversity Framework was discussed with biodiversity stakeholders and interested members of the public.

The group will draw together the views of our region’s biodiversity community to develop the Framework. Greater Wellington will facilitate and support the group and sit on it as a member. The group, independently co-chaired in partnership with mana whenua, will drive the project forward.

Greater Wellington is looking for people with a strong interest in how we manage biodiversity, who have good links to their wider community and who can work with others in a collaborative setting.

There’s more information and applications for membership can be made online at https://haveyoursay.gw.govt.nz/regional-biodiversity-framework. Applications close on 27 March.

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