OUR PRECIOUS BIODIVERSITY
The Waikato region is home to many native plants and animals. We have:
- more than 900 native plants
- 124 native bird species
- 19 reptiles (including geckos, skinks and tuatara)
- two species of native bats
- two native frogs
- our streams and rivers are also home to many types of fish and invertebrates
People have cleared much of the region’s forests in the last 160 years. Introduced pests, stock grazing and habitat loss continue to threaten native plants and animals. At least 100 species of our native plants and animals are threatened with extinction (including all of the bats and frogs and 30 per cent of the birds).
Waikato Regional Council is helping to protect our natural areas and biodiversity
- We work with district and city councils to protect areas of native vegetation through education, regulation and funding support.
- Waikato Regional Council’s Natural Heritage Fund was established in 2005 to protect and manage, in perpetuity, special places of ecological significance. Key priorities include the preservation of access to waterways and the coast, as well as protection of biodiversity, heritage sites and landscapes of significance to the community.
- We support care groups undertaking activities to enhance native biodiversity in the region.
- Waikato Regional Council and Department of Conservation possum control operations target ‘at risk’ areas of native forest.The Department of Conservation also has active management programmes to protect threatened species in our region.
- We track changes in the indigenous coverage of protected areas. This supports our knowledge base of the extent of the region's biodiversity and helps with policy making and resource consent decisions.
- We support landowners in the region to covenant special areas on their property to enhance native biodiversity and to provide long term protection.
- We aim to raise people’s awareness of the environment so that people understand that the daily actions in their lives and business can affect the environment, and learn what actions they can take to improve their own local environments.
You can help
- Make sure you check with your local councils before carrying out any forestry or bush clearance activities.
- Join an environmental group that purchases and manages natural areas, such as the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society.
- Join or form a care group in your area, to look after and preserve the natural environment. Many land owners also carry out private pest control, planting, fencing and restoration. Check outa href="http://makearipple.co.nz/">The Ripple Effect , to find out who's doing good stuff for the environment in your local area.
- You can place a covenant protecting an area of native bush on your land. About half of the region’s remaining native vegetation is legally protected, and many land owners have legally protected native forest, scrub or wetland areas. There are different protected covenants that are managed by a number of agencies. The initial approach to apply for a protection covenant is to find out the biodiversity values on your land through Significant Natural Areas program in your local council, and to talk toa href="http://www.openspace.org.nz/Site/About_QEII/Contact_us/NI_Reps.aspx">QEII representatives in your area . You can get help through the following agencies:
- QEII Trust helps private landowners in New Zealand protect significant natural and cultural features on their land with open space covenants. (http://www.openspace.org.nz/ ).
- Nga Whenua Rahui Fund provides funding for protection of indigenous ecosystems on Maori land (http://www.doc.govt.nz/getting-involved/volunteer-join-or-start-a-project/start-or-fund-a-project/funding/nga-whenua-rahui/nga-whenua-rahui-fund/)
- District council covenants provide funding for protection of indigenous ecosystems on council land and also private land. Please check this with your local district or city council.
- The Nature Heritage Fund (NHF) supports projects to protect indigenous ecosystems by purchase or covenant on Māori land. The fund, which receives an annual allocation of funds from the Government, is administered by an independent committee, reports to the Minister of Conservation and is serviced by the Department of Conservation. You can find out more at http://www.doc.govt.nz/get-involved/funding/nature-heritage-fund/
Some more information