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Published: 2001-11-15 00:00:00

A proposed regional Pest Management Strategy for the Region includes special attention for the Taupo area’s plant and animal pests.

Environment Waikato has proposed a new strategy to attack plant and animal pests in the Region.

The strategy outlines the way it will manage plant and animal pests over the next five years. There are management programmes, with different levels of regional participation proposed, for 71 plant pests, such as old man’s beard, spartina and privet and 22 animal pests, such as possums, goats, koi carp and magpies.

In the Taupo area the focus is on getting landowners to control Pinus contorta outside commercial forests by June 2005. Environment Waikato is working with forestry companies to programme removal and undertake direct control work within forest areas.

The Council also wants to eradicate climbing spindleberry by 2012, a climber which has been around for a while but which can be controlled before it gets a foothold in the area. Plant Pest Officer Kevin Loe said the plant can do considerable damage to native bush, smothering native species and making recreation areas difficult to enter.

Pest fish such as koi carp and brown bull head catfish are also under the spotlight, with the focus on keeping koi carp out of Lake Taupo and confined to the lower Waikato River. There will be signs to warn boaties. The catfish are in Taupo but not in Rotorua and emphasis will be on working with Environment BoP to ensure these pests do not get transferred into the Rotorua lakes.

Privet is linked to triggering asthma in sufferers at certain times of the year. Its berries are poisonous and can make children and stock ill. It is also acknowledged as a serious ecological pest. Under the new proposed rules, Environment Waikato can enforce its removal in both urban and rural areas if a neighbour makes a health related complaint.

Rabbits are also now an accepted part of overall property management in the area, but if there are complaints Environment Waikato can enforce control. Rooks are also still a problem in the area with 14 to 16 rookeries in the Whakamaru, Tihoi and Mangakino areas supporting up to 80 birds. The goal is eradication from the Region by 2007, but landowners will need to help in locating rookeries, especially new ones that may have established recently.

Dama wallaby are still in the Rotorua area, around Tumunui and Waikite Valley and the Paeroa Ranges in very limited numbers. The aim is to eradicate them by 2005 and prevent their re-introduction from the Bay of Plenty Region.

There are also changes proposed in the approach to cleaning up roadside verges. Transit New Zealand is responsible for all state highway verges from “fence to fence” and local roads have a mix of different responsibilities.

Written submissions must be in to the Council by Friday, November 23. Hearings will be held in March next year.

Copies of the Strategy are available from Environment Waikato’s offices in Hamilton, Paeroa and Taupo, public libraries and on the Council’s website, People can also obtain a copy from Environment Waikato's Freephone 0800 800 401.