Tangihua pests targeted

23 Jan 2017, 9:25 AM

Plant and animal pests scattered through more than 1400 hectares of iconic bush, scrub and farmland between Whangarei and Dargaville will be targeted as Tangihua joins the ranks of Northland’s official Community Pest Control Areas (CPCA).

The Northland Regional Council will meet roughly half of the overall $120,000-plus costs of the CPCA over the next five years, with the remainder coming from the landowners involved and other funders.

The project aims to restore biodiversity values on private land surrounding the adjacent publically-owned Tangihua Forest and enhance and support community-led conservation efforts there.  The CPCA will also work alongside a separate community-led Tangihua Forest Restoration Project.

Tangihua Lions Lodge Trust chairman Gerald Mannion and regional council Kaipara constituency representative Penny Smart. Tangihua Lions Lodge Trust chairman Gerald Mannion and regional council Kaipara constituency representative Penny Smart with a map of the proposed Tangihua Community Pest Control Area.

Councillor Penny Smart, whose Kaipara constituency includes part of the sprawling Tangihua CPCA, says the project’s main aim is to dramatically cut animal and plant pests, and then keep their numbers low to enable native flora and fauna to recover.

“Possums, wild pigs and cats, rats and mice and mustelids, as well as wild ginger and kauri dieback disease will all be targeted using a variety of controls.”

Councillor Smart says the Tangihua Forest range lies between Whangarei and Dargaville and includes a large area of public conservation land administered by the Department of Conservation (DOC), with private land around its periphery.

“The range is also home to the Tangihua Lions Lodge outdoor education centre and council is thrilled to be working with – and have the support of – both DOC (which will assist with technical advice) and the Lions Club as part of this CPCA.”

She says the forest is the largest forest block in central Northland and a ‘significant refuge’ for indigenous wildlife.

“It provides habitat for at least three ‘threatened’ and 22 ‘regionally significant’ plant species and a range of threatened land and water-based species, including birds, snails and freshwater fish.”

Councillor Smart says Tangihua is one of more than 50 CPCA the regional council has established over the past decade in parts of Northland that the region’s communities have identified as worth protecting.

“Collectively these already involve more than 1000 people and cover more than 70,000ha.”

In the 2015-16 financial year, $200,000 had been spent on the CPCA programme Northland-wide, with a similar amount expected in the current financial year (ending June 30).

Councillor Smart says CPCA are a great example of how authorities and local communities can work together and pool resources, skills and enthusiasm to maximise the collective environmental and other benefits.

She says paperwork for the Tangihua CPCA is currently being finalised with the various parties and the project will officially start within weeks.

“For general information on CPCA process, visit council’s website: www.nrc.govt.nz/CPCA or call council’s biosecurity team on 0800 002 004.”