Gisborne pest management plan due soon

After years in the making, the Regional Pest Management Plan 2016-2026 is nearly ready

After years in the making, the Regional Pest Management Plan 2016-2026 is nearly ready

COSTLY PROBLEM: Possums are another productive pest and proper control of them in the district could realise a $1.39 million to $5.4m benefit. They are in the progressive containment category in the proposed Regional Pest Managment Plan, meaning they are spread to an extent eradiaction is not feasible but containing them will reduce harm. Picture supplied
AQUATIC WEED: The invasive marine pest Mediterranean fanworm, Sabella spallanzanii (pictured), has been discovered in Gisborne harbour. The fanworm is well established in other ports around the country. It is in the eradication programme in the proposed Regional Pest Management Plan. File picture
ERADICATION: Velvetleaf, one of the production pests identified in the proposed Regional Pest Management Plan. As the spread of this weed is small in size it is classed in the eradication programme in the plan. Picture from npspot.org

A NEW plan to deal with pests in Gisborne is nearing completion after several years in the making. The proposed Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) 2016-2026 will place a greater emphasis on promoting biodiversity and eradicating new weed and pest arrivals in the Gisborne region, than the previous strategy. Along with enhancing native biodiversity, greater pest control would benefit the district economically.

Gisborne District Council conducted a cost-benefit analysis for each identified weed and pest. Possum control had a $1.39m-$5.4m benefit, while nodding thistle was estimated to have a benefit of $240,000. Some pests were classed as “production pests”, control of which would largely benefit primary producers, while “environmental and amenity pests” affected the wider community.

The budget for pest control is $1.2m a year. GDC officers have recommended this budget be split in a new funding structure, with environmental and amenity weeds funded through a general rate, while production pests are split with a 60 percent rural and 40 percent general rate.

Key differences from the last plan include the introduction of specific pest management programmes. The exclusion programme identified 22 weeds and pests found in neighbouring regions, and/or those able to be easily spread into the region. These included the weed egeria, pest plague skink, and even chinchillas.

The programme would work to exclude these through an active surveillance programme. The eradication programme identified weeds and pests present in the region but limited in size, making eradication feasible and cost-effective. These included rooks, and weeds present at a small number of sites such as Mediterranean fanworm at the port.

The progressive containment programme was for weeds found in only parts of the region, where eradication is not feasible but containing would reduce harm. These include holly leaved senecio (made famous last year on Titirangi), the pest fish gambusia, nodding thistle and gorse.

Council staff will focus on: assisting with priority site-led programmes with both weed and pest management; possum control operations on regional biodiversity and region-wide objectives, rather than detailed programmes at a farm level; reducing possum numbers to 10 percent residual trap catch (RTC) on the Hawke’s Bay boundary and 15 percent RTC in other control areas in the rest of the region; and eradicating weeds and pests currently in small numbers. However that could grow into major problems.

Other key differences from the last strategy:

  • Roading authorities will need to do weed and pest control on the roadsides — previously this was the responsibility of the neighbouring landowner.
  • Good neighbour rules, which mean if weed and pest control in accordance with the plan is being done on one property, neighbours are also required to do so in boundary areas. These good neighbour rules also apply to the Government, including agencies such as the Department of Conservation.
  • Development of “site led” weed and pest programmes — where multiple weeds and pests will be managed at one location such as an important bush reserve, or a sand dune area, in order to protect its values.

Gisborne’s proposed RPMP will cover the period 2016-2026 and build on the previous pest management strategy, which expired in June last year. It will operate within the administrative boundaries of the Gisborne region covering 8355 square kilometres.

More information can be accessed on the council’s website. Submissions on the plan close this Friday, February 24.

A NEW plan to deal with pests in Gisborne is nearing completion after several years in the making. The proposed Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) 2016-2026 will place a greater emphasis on promoting biodiversity and eradicating new weed and pest arrivals in the Gisborne region, than the previous strategy. Along with enhancing native biodiversity, greater pest control would benefit the district economically.

Gisborne District Council conducted a cost-benefit analysis for each identified weed and pest. Possum control had a $1.39m-$5.4m benefit, while nodding thistle was estimated to have a benefit of $240,000. Some pests were classed as “production pests”, control of which would largely benefit primary producers, while “environmental and amenity pests” affected the wider community.

The budget for pest control is $1.2m a year. GDC officers have recommended this budget be split in a new funding structure, with environmental and amenity weeds funded through a general rate, while production pests are split with a 60 percent rural and 40 percent general rate.

Key differences from the last plan include the introduction of specific pest management programmes. The exclusion programme identified 22 weeds and pests found in neighbouring regions, and/or those able to be easily spread into the region. These included the weed egeria, pest plague skink, and even chinchillas.

The programme would work to exclude these through an active surveillance programme. The eradication programme identified weeds and pests present in the region but limited in size, making eradication feasible and cost-effective. These included rooks, and weeds present at a small number of sites such as Mediterranean fanworm at the port.

The progressive containment programme was for weeds found in only parts of the region, where eradication is not feasible but containing would reduce harm. These include holly leaved senecio (made famous last year on Titirangi), the pest fish gambusia, nodding thistle and gorse.

Council staff will focus on: assisting with priority site-led programmes with both weed and pest management; possum control operations on regional biodiversity and region-wide objectives, rather than detailed programmes at a farm level; reducing possum numbers to 10 percent residual trap catch (RTC) on the Hawke’s Bay boundary and 15 percent RTC in other control areas in the rest of the region; and eradicating weeds and pests currently in small numbers. However that could grow into major problems.

Other key differences from the last strategy:

  • Roading authorities will need to do weed and pest control on the roadsides — previously this was the responsibility of the neighbouring landowner.
  • Good neighbour rules, which mean if weed and pest control in accordance with the plan is being done on one property, neighbours are also required to do so in boundary areas. These good neighbour rules also apply to the Government, including agencies such as the Department of Conservation.
  • Development of “site led” weed and pest programmes — where multiple weeds and pests will be managed at one location such as an important bush reserve, or a sand dune area, in order to protect its values.

Gisborne’s proposed RPMP will cover the period 2016-2026 and build on the previous pest management strategy, which expired in June last year. It will operate within the administrative boundaries of the Gisborne region covering 8355 square kilometres.

More information can be accessed on the council’s website. Submissions on the plan close this Friday, February 24.

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