19 May 2016

Bay of Plenty Regional Council contractors will be door-knocking in Oropi, Ohauiti and Welcome Bay this month, to check ponds and water features for aquatic pests.

Regional Council Land Management Officer Donna Watchman said that pest plants such as water hyacinth and pest fish such as koi carp, are a threat to water quality, access and native wildlife in the region’s streams, lakes and wetlands.

"Pest fish and weeds that seem safely contained in a pond can be easily spread elsewhere by birds, pond overflows, earthworks machinery or if they’re shared with neighbours and friends,” Mrs Watchman said.

"People often don’t realise they’re harbouring pests. We found a single water hyacinth plant in a small water lily pond during pond checks in Katikati last month. The landowner had recently bought the property and was surprised to find that water hyacinth was in the pond. She was happy for our contractor to remove it,” she said.

Pest fish such as koi carp and catfish can eat and out-compete native fish. They make water murky and unhealthy when they stir up sediments and reduce oxygen levels. Pond weeds like salvinia and water hyacinth grow as thick floating mats that can choke waterways, clog irrigation intakes and aggravate flooding.

Regional Council’s contractors, Nicky Oliver-Smith and Tammy Bruce of Wildlands Consultants Ltd will be completing the checks. They’ll be carrying identification with them and asking if there is an ornamental pond or garden water feature on the property.

“They’ll inspect the water feature while the home owner or occupier is home. They’ll let them know if they find any pests and if anything further needs to be done. If there’s no-one home, the contractors will leave their contact details in the letterbox so a check can be booked in for another day," said Mrs Watchman.

“Anyone with questions about how to control and safely dispose of any pest fish and weeds, is welcome to ask the contactors when they visit. Or people can contact our biosecurity team directly by calling 0800 STOP PESTS (0800 786 773) or emailing STOP.PESTS@boprc.govt.nz,” Mrs Watchman said.