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Waitakere’s threatened species get new protection

Media Release

June 11, 2009

Waitakere’s threatened species get new policy protection

Ensuring threatened plants and animals in the West do not become extinct is the purpose of a new policy adopted by Waitakere City Council.

The threatened species policy details projects that will help the recovery of species such as the kereru, long-tailed bat and fernbird as well as threatened plant species in the urban area.

The Waitakere Threatened Species Management Policy sets out clear goals for the protection of species and methods for their recovery. It also provides guidance to staff on how best to manage these species.

“The overall goal is to have the number of threatened species not only reduced, but to get their populations thriving,” says Policy and Strategy Committee chair Penny Hulse.

“There is no doubt urban development is putting pressure on our natural environment, which is why this policy is important because it gives staff a tool to guide them when they planning projects.”

The policy is believed to be the first of its kind in the Auckland region and cements the council’s commitment to protecting the unique environmental heritage of Waitakere.

A pioneer member of the of Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI’s) Local Action for Biodiversity (LAB), the council is one of 21 cities worldwide involved in the project.

LAB participants focus on local action and delivery according to a five-step process.

Each city has to produce a biodiversity report documenting its biodiversity and management, sign the Durban Commitment on Biodiversity, develop and implementing long term strategy and action plans and agree to implement them and five new biodiversity initiatives.

Waitakere has completed four of these and is working its way to the fifth.

It was also the first city to produce a Local Biodiversity Action Plan, which has been recognised as an example for others to follow.

Waitakere has 46 animal and 160 plant species that are considered to be threatened, as reported in the most recent audits of the region’s plants and animals (including invertebrates) carried out last year.

The definition of threatened can mean anything from just a few examples still living, to a recognised dwindling of numbers.

“As we prepare to move in to a new era of regional governance, in Waitakere we want to make sure that we have done what we can to ensure policies are in place to ensure the West’s biodiversity is in good health for future generations,” says Cr Hulse.

© Scoop Media

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