More action is needed to turn the tide on retaining the variety of natural life in the Waikato’s waterways and on land.
Environment Waikato Environment Committee councillors heard that a number of areas would require active restoration and a concerted effort from key stakeholders to retain biological diversity. Biodiversity programme manager Blair Dickie said Environment Waikato had policies to maintain and enhance biodiversity in the Waikato Region.
“Environment Waikato, Government, iwi and other groups do not have a monopoly on achieving the outcomes. We need to work in partnerships.”
The Council had focused this year on laying the foundation for a regional grouping of stakeholders in biodiversity, and a biodiversity forum is planned this week to float the idea of developing a regional restoration strategy.
Environment Waikato was advocating community awareness of the values of indigenous vegetation and biodiversity and the need for its protection and restoration, through environmental education. There were voluntary methods to protect diversity and quality of habitat, and planting of indigenous vegetation, especially regionally appropriate species.
“There is an increasing expectation from Government that Regional Councils will in future have a larger role working with community groups on this issue. More information is needed on what we have and what shape it is in, understanding the threats and developing methods to minimise further loss, restore damaged sites and help the community manage natural areas.”
Environment Waikato was liaising with local authorities, other agencies and resource users to advocate for protection and creation of wildlife corridors to avoid isolation or fragmentation of ecosystems. It was also investigating with landowners and other agencies alternative ways of sustainably managing indigenous vegetation.
“Environment Waikato recognises it does affect the status of indigenous biodiversity with its actions, both positively and negatively, and can influence the actions of others through resource use consents and other means.”
A strategy was being prepared looking at current actions and the way legislation was working to maximise results and increase native biodiversity in the Region.