Community lead the charge on pest and weed control

The Waiau Toa/Clarence River was at the centre of community discussions regarding biodiversity protection and weed control at a recent community hui.

Led by our Kaikōura Water Zone Committee facilitator Jodie Hoggard, our staff, along with environmental agencies, water zone committee members, contractors, and the local community came together to discuss the weed and pest control mahi carried out this year.

Tucked away in the Murray family's bull sale shed in Clarence, presentations on weed control and managing biodiversity were given by Land Information NZ's Rich Langley, Boffa Miskell's Beth Williamson and Sian Reynolds, our senior biodiversity officer, Heath Melville, and Department of Conservation's Rowan Hindenmarsh-Walls.

Hui discussions

Topics discussed at the hui included:

  • the weed and pest control work carried out during the 2022-23 season
  • a proposed review of the Waiau Toa/Clarence weed control strategy going forward
  • the weed mapping work that sits alongside the review; and
  • what the 2023-24 season is likely to look like and the anticipated outcomes.

Learn more about the Waiau Toa/Clarence weed control efforts.

Preserving local ecosystems

Heath has just finished reviewing the two-year Clarence Waiau Toa Riverbed Weed Management Strategy, which will continue into 2024. Stubborn invasive plants like gorse and broom can disrupt the vibrant, constantly evolving character of the awa and jeopardise the local ecosystem by providing more hiding spots for predatory mammals like cats and stoats.

The Waiau Toa/Clarence River tarapirohe/black-fronted tern project benefits from this work, with the bird’s breeding habitat improved by removing weeds that overtake the river and targeting pests which prey on tarapirohe eggs. This project has been a priority for the Committee since 2015.

"Weed and pest management will remain a necessity to protect the values present," Heath said, and since 2014 over $1 million has been contributed by various landowners and agencies into the Waiau Toa/Clarence catchment.

Multi-agency effort

The weed control strategy has been running for several years now with input from many stakeholders, including Boffa Miskell, Toitū Te Whenua | Land Information New Zealand, Department of Conservation, Marlborough District Council, the Kaikōura Water Zone Committee, and us.

"It's a great example of cross-agency collaboration alongside landowners, getting some great results for the wider catchment, for biodiversity, for on-farm benefits with reduced "agriculture weeds", for recreational and amenity benefits and water quality benefits," Jodie said to those in attendance.

"Given the enormity of the Waiau Toa/Clarence catchment and the pest and weed issues that are present, working collectively is a smart and effective way to operate. Bigger bangs for the buck and many hands make light work, as they say.

"These issues won't go away with a one-man band approach," she said.