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Owners take responsibility for pests

Environment Waikato needed to issue fewer urban pest control programmes in the last year as people took more responsibility for pest control, this week’s Biosecurity Committee heard.

In the annual report of the Regional Pest Management Strategy for the past year, 6024 property inspections were carried out. Only 397 urban pest control programmes were issued compared with 702 last year, due to increased compliance with the standards in the strategy.

Only 26 direction notices were issued compared with 197 the previous year, and only two default actions taken, also down on the previous year. Over 170 nurseries were inspected for banned plants, 2633 plant pest enquiries were deal with, and 12 community initiatives were undertaken in different parts of the Region for woolly nightshade, wild ginger and privet.

A total of 960 biological control releases were made using four agents. Natural dispersal of ragwort flea beetle had been so successful no further releases were needed.

In the Coromandel, 36 key ecological sites were identified for pest control, possum control was carried out over 14,000 hectares in the Port Waikato-Wairamarama area, 5088 hectares of ecological enhancement operations targeted possums, goats and mustelids and community possum control schemes now covered six areas, 73,700 hectares and 265 land owners.

Small scale possum control initiatives were undertaken to assist communities in 15 areas. A total of 1638 enquires about animal pests were dealt with, the report said.

Challenges for the coming year included managing the implementation of community possum control schemes and expectations of groups, implementing ecological site programmes, maintaining the pressure on compliance of plant pest control standards and managing initiatives which community groups may want to begin.

Chairperson Cr Helen Lane said the Biosecurity group should be congratulated on the extraordinary amount of work completed. Cr John Kneebone said the success was achieved because of the empathetic way staff dealt with its clients and gained their co-operation.

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