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Published: 2013-07-16 00:00:00

Waikato Regional Council says it has agreed to take a lead role in reducing the costs involved nationally in monitoring compliance with approval to use herbicides over water to control aquatic weeds.

The leadership role reflects the council’s recognised expertise in the aquatic weeds area and its strong relationship with the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), said biosecurity and heritage group manager John Simmons.

Last year the EPA approved an application from all regional councils, the Ministry for Primary Industries, the Department of Conservation and Land Information New Zealand to use certain herbicides over water. However, various conditions were laid down, including the need for environmental monitoring to be done when the herbicides are used.

“To save costs, the parties involved have worked out a standard monitoring protocol and have agreed to use the same contractor,” said Mr Simmons. The monitoring will involve pre and post spraying assessments monitoring such things as dissolved oxygen levels, sediment and herbicide concentrations, pH and any by-kills of non target species.

“Waikato Regional Council is to co-ordinate the tendering for this work on behalf of all parties, who will jointly share the costs. That will save ratepayers money here and in other regions because it is cheaper than each region doing it separately.”