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Greater Wellington Shutting The Door On Invasive Pest Plants

Greater Wellington Regional Council’s Biosecurity team has announced a 10-year-programme to prevent the invasion of three of New Zealand’s least desirable pest plants.

The Surveillance Programme is one of Greater Wellington’s many strategies to ensure the protection of the region’s biodiversity and economic well-being.

Lead by the Biosecurity Pest Plant team, the Surveillance Programme works to exclude and detect three harmful pest plant species from entering, establishing and damaging the Wellington Region.

Greater Wellington Biosecurity Pest Plant team leader, Gary Sue says, “Chilean needle grass, nassella tussock and alligator weed are potentially very damaging pest plant species because of the economic, environmental and cultural impact they could have on our region.”

Nassella Tussock
Alligator weed
Chilean needle grass

“We’ve witnessed the immense devastation these plants have had on other regions once they take hold. A huge part of this project is surveying properties across our region and building the community’s awareness of these pests, so we can get their support.”

Collectively, these three species pose significant threat to rural communities in particular. The damage ranges from reducing farmland, crops and grazing area, clogging waterways resulting in flooding and sediment build up, damaging wool and decreasing farm animal health.

As a part of this programme, Greater Wellington will help support landowners with the management of these pest plants if they are found in the Wellington region. They are also available to help identify potential pest plant species that landowners may be concerned about.

Wellington Wairarapa Committee Chair Councillor Adrienne Staples, “There are many things we can do collectively, as individuals and as a community to take action before these pests become a problem.”

“When checking your property for these plants, it is a great opportunity to become familiar with natives species you may be growing in your backyard and to plant more.”

If you think you’ve seen one of these plants, contact Greater Wellington on 0800 496 734, email pest.plants@gw.govt.nz or visit https://www.gw.govt.nz/pest-plants/.

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