Possum numbers are dropping on private land in the Hauturu Honikiwi area.
The area has implemented a community possum control scheme and monitoring done in August showed a 13 percent trap catch, compared with 19.3 percent last year. This was closer to the scheme objective of less than 10 percent.
Environment Waikato biosecurity officer Philip Brown said many properties had excellent results, with one even down to no possums caught after their operation. A few places needed more attention to bring them back below 10 percent, and property owners could not afford to get complacent.
More one-to-one advice from contractors, EcoFx Pest Solutions Ltd was paying dividends, he said. This approach had also worked with the Mahoenui Community Scheme, and while this was more costly it was money well spent if it meant the schemes could continue successfully.
DoC areas that were controlled by EcoFx at the beginning of the scheme and a few of the more difficult private patches would be re-treated in the winter of 2003 which would knock possum numbers right back and mean less work for landowners. Doc had provided 270 bait stations to several landowners who were neighbours to DoC reserves to assist with their control programmes.
DoC had also received funding for goat control for much of the same area as the possum scheme. They would be intensively hunting goats with dogs on both DoC managed and private land where landowners had given permission. Some money had also been committed to boundary fencing of the reserves to reduce stock access and goat reinvasion.
Work would continue through most of the summer and for the next two summers, and that should give excellent control results and greatly improve the health of the undergrowth in those areas, he said.
A community possum scheme agreement was designed to last for at least three years, with the semiformal review of the scheme and its objectives at the end of three years. Landowners would be able to look at how they wanted the scheme to continue in June next year.