Nearly a year after the 2020 – 2030 Regional Pest Management Plan became operative Bay of Plenty Regional Council is on track to hit all of its targets.
The end of year report that went to its Monitoring and Operations Committee meeting this week stated 89 percent of programmes in the plan have already hit their targets.
The Pest Management Plan aims to control and, in some cases, eradicate plant and animal pests in the Bay of Plenty.
Regional Council Biosecurity Manager Greg Corbett said that part of the success is thanks to collaborative working relationships in the community including with tangata whenua, Government agencies, landowners and volunteer groups.
“Strong relationships with these groups enable us to collaboratively find and control pests within an area and work together to find innovative solutions unique to that area,” said Mr Corbett.
“The Mount Tarawera Wilding Pine Control Project is a shining example of how collaboration and a long and ongoing commitment to protecting a unique ecological and cultural site can achieve great things.”
Ruawāhia 2B Trust, with support from Department of Conservation and the Regional Council, has led the mahi with a dedicated team of Ngāti Rangitihi iwi members controlling wilding pines on the maunga (mountain). Volunteer groups have also played their part by pulling seedling pines after the initial control work. More recently funding for community partnership projects from the Ministry of Primary Industries’ Wilding Conifer Control Programme has enabled the engagement of a second wilding pine control team to work on the whenua.
Other examples of great relationships bringing biosecurity success include an ongoing partnership with Te Arawa Lakes Trust to rid the Rotorua Te Arawa lakes of aquatic pests and engagement with East Coast hapū members to rid the rohe (area) of several invasive plant species.
Relationships like these are key for the success of big projects, but strong relationships with individual landowners are also important, Mr Corbett said.
Recently a contractor discovered a large infestation of the pest plant noogoora bur when harvesting maize.
The contractor stopped harvesting immediately and together he, the landowner and the regional council were able to come to a solution that worked for everyone.
“We did some ringing around and found a company in Auckland that processed the maize into starch, killing the noogoora bur seeds in the process,” said Mr Corbett.
“Working collectively in this case ensured the pest plant was not allowed the opportunity to spread and enabled us to come to a beneficial outcome for us and the landowner.”
When it comes to Biosecurity, however the work is never complete. This coming year’s operational plan has some equally ambitious targets to continue to find, control or eradicate the nearly 70 pests contained within the ten-year plan.
Read more on the 2020 – 2030 Regional Pest Management Plan, the 2020/21 End of Year report.