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Published: 2005-04-21 00:00:00

An information day on the Peninsula Project will be held next Saturday, April 30 at the Civic Centre in Thames.

Organised by Environment Waikato, Thames-Coromandel District Council, the Department of Conservation and Hauraki Maori Trust Board, the day is aimed at giving Thames, Kauaeranga Valley, Totara and Kopu residents an opportunity to talk to Peninsula Project staff about 1080 possum control operations planned for the area.

Anyone who wants to know more about the Peninsula Project is also welcome. Staff will be at the Civic Centre from 12 noon to 4pm.

As part of the Peninsula Project a variety of work, from river maintenance to animal pest control has been planned to address flood risks affecting the Coromandel Peninsula and improve the health of the environment over the next 20 years. Flooding problems on the Thames Coast are the first priority.

Department of Conservation Programme Manager for Biodiversity Threats for the Peninsula Project Fin Buchanan said achieving the best results along the Thames Coast depended on reducing the number of possums and goats. Because the pests moved freely around the area, control operations had to cover the entire Thames Coast, as far south as Kopu.

“Forests have taken a hammering from goats and possums, which continue to devastate the area. With pest control the forest can recover, increasing its ability to help slow down water that runs off hillsides and down valleys, reducing erosion and flooding. A drop in possum numbers will also help increase the number of native birds,” he said.

Several Thames Coast possum and goat control operations were planned this year, including ground-based and aerial 1080 possum control operations on land administered by the Department of Conservation and some private land west of the Coromandel Range from Te Puru to Kopu-Hikuai Road, he said.

Ground-based methods will be used closer to communities and water supplies and aerial operations in the rugged back country. Staff will be talking with iwi and landowners over the next month and liaise with Thames coast communities through flood mitigation working groups and the information day.