From our Chair: Biosecurity and awards

Jenny Hughey, Chair, Environment Canterbury

Jenny Hughey, Chair, Environment Canterbury

Biosecurity and pest management are key Environment Canterbury responsibilities, and working with a range of agencies and the community is key to making progress in this space.

The battle against wilding pines

One particularly tricky pest – very relevant at this time of year – is the humble ‘Christmas tree’.

Our efforts to eradicate wilding pines (those out of containment in managed forests) in Canterbury is a huge part of our biosecurity work.

These efforts were given a boost post-COVID lockdown with central government funding, aimed at supporting economic recovery and creating jobs for those finding themselves out of work, being granted for this work.

$17million of work is allocated over 400,000 hectares of wilding infestations in Canterbury alone.

Alongside Environment Canterbury’s own efforts, community groups are contributing to the battle against wilding pines.

Service to conservation awarded

At its last meeting of the year, the Regional Council acknowledged Ray and Maree Goldring for services to conservation, in large part for their work to get rid of wilding pines in the Upper Waimakariri river basin, work which has also contributed to habitat protection and support of endangered plant species.

Ray and Maree have spent many years working with Environment Canterbury, other agencies, the community and landowners to restore and protect the landscape in the area, addressing the alarming spread of contorta pines.

To do this they have had to turn their hand to committees and fundraising efforts – which continue to this day.

Ray and Maree Goldring receiving award

Regional Council acknowledged Ray and Maree Goldring for services to conservation, for their work to get rid of wilding pines in the Upper Waimakariri river basin.

Joining forces to control wilding conifers

Ray has been chair of the Waimakariri Ecological and Landscape Restoration Alliance (WELRA) since it was formed in 2008.

Members represent local landowners and lessees, ratepayers, the Department of Conservation, Environment Canterbury, the Canterbury Environmental Trust, the New Zealand Conservation Trust and individual conservationists.

WELRA has been successful in securing $6 million of funding from a variety of public and private sources, becoming a major stakeholder in the largest community-initiated wilding conifer control programme in New Zealand.

Using both professional contractors and volunteers, its efforts will likely see wildings eradicated from the basin within the next two years. Their work has become a model for others to follow.

Committee work at its best

Maree served on the Selwyn Waihora water zone committee for seven years until 2018, contributing to important biodiversity initiatives in the Hororata catchment, wetlands and the high-country.

She was also involved in the committee’s hardest task – the development of the Selwyn Waihora zone implementation plan, the Selwyn Te Waihora Plan and its implementation.

The Goldring’s collective expertise fed into the Canterbury Regional Pest Management Plan 2018-38 and Maree is currently a member of the central Biosecurity Advisory Group, which provides advice to and support for regional biosecurity programme delivery in central Canterbury.

It is thanks to the work of people like the Goldrings, to willing landowners who take significant action on their own properties, to central government support and to the Canterbury community that we can continue to make progress with pests in our region.

Other pest control projects

The Goldrings’ work isn’t done yet. Ray and Maree have recently ‘retired’ to Geraldine, where they initiated the Trapping Alliance Trust, helping locals establish a trap library to tackle a different sort of pest altogether.

On the Environment Canterbury website, you can find out a whole lot more about pest control works – from wilding pines to wallabies.

Wishing you a happy holiday period.