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New pest plan targets healthy habitats

New pest plan targets healthy habitats and enhanced environments

Greater Wellington Regional Council is stepping up its efforts to keep the region’s biodiversity thriving through a targeted and systematic approach to managing threats posed to regional habitats by pest plants and animals.

Its just-published Regional Pest Management Plan 2019-39 identifies 17 pest plants and 12 pest animals for exclusion from the region, eradication or management, with a range of others being kept under watch for inclusion in the plan if necessary.

“The plan delivers a continuing biosecurity management regime that will not only support our efforts to sustain biodiversity in the region, but will help grow and foster it for many years to come,” says Greater Wellington chair Chris Laidlaw.

“Vigilance, persistence and close co-ordination with the broad range of agencies, voluntary groups and highly motivated people involved in pest management are central to the success of the plan. It will take a truly regional effort to keep pest plants and animals at bay.

“We want, as far as possible, to return flourishing native plants, flitting birds, crawling insects, and healthy ecosystems to the region.

“Our biosecurity plan will help us do so by fostering a resilient natural environment no longer under siege from predators and pest plants.

“Progress will take time but, as the predator free movement is showing in wider Wellington region, big strides can be made by focused effort towards clear goals, and that’s what we aim to achieve”.

Mainland Island Restoration Organisation volunteer Sally Bain, who traps possums in one of our Key Native Ecosystem biodiversity hotspots, notes the impact of biosecurity on habitat.

”I wanted to make a difference in East Harbour because I saw the difference others had made. I came back to the area I grew up in, and saw the difference taking possums down to a really low level in the park had made. It was so nice to walk home and see all those rata, and I really wanted to be part of that.”

Four goals underpin the plan: reversing the loss of regional biodiversity, particularly in critically valuable areas (such a Key Native Ecosystem sites and managed territorial authority reserves), reducing the impact of plant and animal pests on habitats, supporting a regionally co-ordinated approach to pest management with other individuals and organisations, and making considerable areas of the region pest-free – starting with the Predator Free Wellington operation in Miramar.

Under the plan, management of organisms declared as pests fall into four categories: exclusion of pests which have not settled in the region; full eradication of some pest species currently in the region; progressive containment of some species; sustained control of some pests to prevent spread; and site-led management designed to protect the ecological or biodiversity values of particular sites.

“Biodiversity matters, it enriches our natural environment and our lives, but it isn’t a given. Restoring and sustaining our natural capital will take resources, effort and commitment. The proposed plan draws these factors together.

“If left uncontrolled pest animals and plants will cause adverse effects on the environment, economic, social and cultural values of the Wellington region. We cannot let that happen”, says Cr Laidlaw.

The plan can be found at: http://www.gw.govt.nz/greater-wellington-regional-pest-management-plan-2019-2039/


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