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Published: 2003-10-21 00:00:00

More than 300 Waikato landowners are involved in community possum control schemes, according to Environment Waikato’s Biosecurity Annual Report.

Community possum control schemes in six areas cover 70,000 hectares and are achieving excellent results, especially at Mahoenui and Awaroa/Whangape.

The report notes 3,377 ha of key ecological sites were targeted for ecological enhancement at Mt Pirongia, Kapowai, near Tairua and Moehau, near Colville. Fencing is planned or underway at four significant sites, two in the Coromandel and two in North Waikato. Small-scale possum control initiatives were being facilitated at 11 sites on the Coromandel Peninsula.

Successful inter-agency possum control was also implemented at Hikuai near Thames. The first ever successful large scale rook control ground operation was also completed, along with a national magpie research control with Landcare New Zealand.

A collaborative research programme was established for koi carp management in the Region with the University of Waikato and DoC. A joint Environment Waikato and DoC-funded control for the plant pest spartina was undertaken in Raglan and several Coromandel Harbours were surveyed.

The Report documented for the first time scientific evidence that the plant pest work Environment Waikato did was achieving the objectives of the Regional Pest Management Strategy and was ’making a difference’.

Meaningful monitoring outcomes could be difficult to quantify in the plant pest programme, but control successes were being achieved for white bryony, climbing spindleberry and contorta pine. Results were not so obvious yet for alligator weed and old man’s beard.

Challenges for the coming year included a larger scale programme for alligator weed control in the lower Waikato delta and working collectively, with other councils and DoC to introduce new agrichemicals which could safely be used over water.

New pest threats, such as Argentine ants in Morrinsville needed to be managed and urban pest issues in Hamilton City – possums, moth plant, alligator weed and nuisance plants – would be tackled.

Chairman Neil Clarke said significant gains had been made in Regional biosecurity issues since 1996.

”Of course a great deal remains to be done and we cannot do it on our own”.

“To ensure that Council and community expectations are being met we must continue to engage the community on the need to tackle pest issues and endeavour to enlist their support.”