Keeping control of all of the plant and animal pests in our region is such a major undertaking that the Northland Regional Council needs your help.
Northland’s naturally mild climate means that the region is one where pest animals and plants quickly become a problem. This growing challenge becomes more difficult each year unless control work is maintained.
We have a Regional Pest and Marine Pathway Management Plan prepared under the Biosecurity Act for the control of pest plants and animals within Northland. One of the council’s aims with these strategies is to encourage the community to become involved with integrated pest management.
Community Pest Control Areas (CPCAs) can be established in areas that have been identified by the community as worth protecting. A list of pests for control is drawn up and a plan is developed for how these can be controlled. Each proposal for establishing a Control Area must be put to the council, along with staff recommendations. If the council resolves to establish a Control Area, the pests defined in the proposal require the landholder to follow a programme of control following the initial knockdown.
When proposing a Community Pest Control Area, a management plan will need to be prepared by the community group, in consultation with landowners in the area and council staff. Objectives need to be clearly set out with the level of control to be achieved for each pest as well as the proposed costs to landowners and the level of council support required.
The plan will also need to include the:
- methods for monitoring the level of pests;
- effectiveness of the control;
- maintenance levels to be achieved; and
- effect on the values being protected.
Maintenance will be the responsibility of individual landowners but may be assisted or co-ordinated by a community group. Landowners within the Control Area will be required to undertake maintenance work or ensure pests are at levels that are agreed to in the management plan.
The Northland Regional Council will audit the standard of pest control within the area to ensure the required standards are being achieved. Where necessary, the council may issue legal directions under the Biosecurity Act requiring landowners to carry out work if they are not controlling pests to the levels identified in the area’s management plan.
All areas will be assessed and given a value based on the assessment criteria listed below. The council will invite the public to assist in identifying and ranking these values as they relate to any proposed areas:
- The area needs to be defendable to minimise reinvasion (using open land, rivers or the sea as buffer zones).
- The area should have a high level of landowner support by numbers and area.
- Where a significant landowner/agency is on the boundary of or within an area, control work and maintenance work needs to be supported to a level that does not allow pests to threaten the values in the area.
- The values to be protected within each area of significance need to be assessed according to each of the values listed in Section 72(c) of the Biosecurity Act (1993). The Act says the organism must be capable of causing, at some time, a serious adverse and unintended effect in relation to the region on one or more of the following:
- economic wellbeing;
- the viability of threatened species of organisms, the survival and distribution of indigenous plants or animals, or the sustainability of natural and developed ecosystems, ecological processes and biological diversity;
- soil resources or water quality;
- human health or enjoyment of the recreational value of the natural environment; or
- The relationship of Māori and their culture and traditions with their ancestral lands, water, sites, wāhi tapu and taonga.
Ongoing control costs need to be sustainable for the community and landowners to manage.
Areas will also be assessed on the employment, tourism, education and amenity values that they provide to the region or district.
Areas with a high value will be given priority for council support in situations where there are more proposed areas than council funding can support.
Example of success in a Community Pest Control Area. The 'before' photo shows possum grazing damage to a cabbage tree, and the 'after' one a year later with a possum control regime.
A contractor may carry out initial control work, funded by the regional council to reduce pest numbers to a level that a group of landowners can then manage.
The council may also supply traps, agrichemicals, poisons and monitoring equipment to groups and landowners.
These resources can be supplied for a period of two years free of charge, followed by a further two years at 50% of cost price. The council can also provide training in pest control and monitoring techniques.
Pest animals and plants agreed to by the landowners and the regional council can be included in a Community Pest Control Area. A group will be required to work on the ones they have identified that threaten the values in an area.