Environment Waikato is always open to the idea of using pest control methods other than aerially applied 1080 and other toxins, says the council’s biosecurity group manager John Simmons.
He was commenting after the Thames-Coromandel District Council (TCDC) resolved to push for the use of trapping, hunting and non-residual poisons for pest control on the peninsula.
Much of the pest control work on the Coromandel – including aerially applied 1080 - is carried out under the umbrella of the Peninsula Project involving DoC, EW, TCDC and Hauraki iwi.
Mr Simmons acknowledged there was concern amongst some in the community about the use of aerial 1080 in particular. He said an illustration of the true scale of aerial 1080’s use in the Waikato was that, in the current financial year, only five per cent of EW’s regional pest control work by area involved aerial 1080.
"We have always been open to methods other than aerial 1080 and toxins. We will use alternative methods where they are appropriate and affordable. At the same time, we are clear that aerial 1080 is the most efficient and cost-effective way of treating large areas of threatened native bush," said Mr Simmons.
He said EW would continue to listen closely to the feelings and opinions of all sections of the community over pest control methods.
But he added EW had an obligation to deliver effective pest control at a price that did not impose too much of a burden on ratepayers.
Mr Simmons said it was crucial to protect trees and birdlife on the peninsula from the ravages of possums, stoats and rats.
The Hamilton Halo project was a great example of how 1080 could help support birds. "We’re starting to get a big increase in the number of tui sightings in Hamilton following pest control at selected tui breeding sites around the city.
"On the Coromandel, much of the biodiversity work EW has been involved with has been done in association with residents groups, such as the Moehau Environment Group and communities at Kapowai, Papa Aroha, Whenuakite and Thames Coast. This has included Project Crimson work aimed at protecting pohutukawa.
"1080 is a useful tool in the toolbox when it comes to protecting birds and trees. We do, however, understand that some people remain concerned about aerial 1080 and we will continue to take their views into account as we proceed with pest control operations on the Coromandel and elsewhere in the region."