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Published: 2004-09-30 00:00:00

Integrating bovine Tb areas coming off vector control into community possum schemes is the biosecurity challenge for the coming year, Environment Waikato says.

In its annual report on progress in implementing the Waikato Regional Pest Management Strategy, the Council says managing new pest threats such as Argentine ants in Morrinsville and tackling urban pest issues such as moth plant, alligator weed and nuisance possums were other new challenges for the coming year.

The Biosecurity group will also be working with key stakeholders to renew resource consents for controlling alligator weed at numerous sites in the Region, undertaking possum control in the Hakarimata Range near Ngaruawahia, Punga Punga wetland near Onewhero and Port Waikato.

Key achievements for the year included successful possum control at Hauturu/Honikiwi west of Otorohanga, isolation and control of three new infestations of alligator weed around Hamilton, spartina control in Raglan and Coromandel and fencing at four significant Key Ecological Sites in Coromandel and North Waikato.

The Council had put out eight new pest control fact sheets to help people identify pests and another 6060 ha of key ecological sites were targeted for ecological enhancement.

It aimed to be at the forefront of new technology, using a range of pesticides, herbicides and biological control agents to effectively manage pests. There was a wealth of information on the actual and potential effects of these methods and using one persistently was not advantageous.

“The consequences of doing nothing are such that the Region cannot afford to not act and let areas be destroyed by pests. The key is to minimise the adverse effects of the various methods on the environment and ensure communication of information is open and accurate.”

The Council was governed by very tight legislation and industry operating procedures for the use of controlled pesticides such as cyanide, DRC 1080 and DRC 1339, requiring extensive consultation and public notification.

“Residue in the environment and deaths of non-target species are important issues, and one which the scientific community is continually investigating. The issue of spray drift was addressed in the Council’s Regional Plan.

Overall, the Council’s view was that positive benefits of the Pest Management Strategy outweighed the negative effects.