Mike Finlayson: The dirty dozens

By Mike Finlayson

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Mike Finlayson
Mike Finlayson

A major part of your regional council's environmental work is controlling pest animals and weeds that flourish in our climate.

It's a massive task to protect our indigenous biodiversity, our rivers, lakes and coastlines, and it's not a job we can do by ourselves. We need your help, and you can make a positive difference.

The NRC has just launched its new online web tool, the Pest Control Hub (www.nrc.govt.nz/pestcontrolhub), where you can find the whole range of pests, weeds and nasty little creatures that are threatening our terrestrial and marine environments.

Categories include animals, plants, diseases, insects, freshwater and marine. Scrolling through them is a bit daunting. There are dozens and dozens of them, and it's hard to know where to start. But if we all do just a little bit, that will make a massive difference.

Do you have a strange plant, bug or animal that you need to identify? The Pest Control Hub is the perfect place to do this.

Just click on the relevant category and it will show you what it looks like, why it is a problem, the best methods to control it, and an online enquiry form if you need more info.

If you are a farmer, land owner or part of a community group, you may be interested in applying to the NRC's Environment Fund to help support your work to protect biodiversity in riparian or coastal areas, control soil erosion and improve water quality.

You can also report issues online and locate them on a map. This information is then directed to the relevant staff, who can best decide the most appropriate action to take.

If you are a teacher or principal, please consider showing this online tool to your pupils. Their sharp eyes and keen minds are a huge asset, and we'd be keen to come your school and explain how you can help protect your environment by using it.

If you are a farmer, land owner or part of a community group, you may be interested in applying to the NRC's Environment Fund to help support your work to protect biodiversity in riparian or coastal areas, control soil erosion and improve water quality.

The fund can contribute up to half the total cost of the project, while your share may be made up from labour, other funding sources or in-kind contributions. To apply, contact the land management staff at your local area office.

If you have a group of farmers, land owners or community members you can form a Community Pest Control Area (CPCA) to assist in the implementation of an integrated pest management strategy.

After the planning stage the council will assist by doing the initial knockdown of the targeted pests. After this the group is responsible for continuing the programme, as outlined in the management plan.

Lastly, if you have an interest in biodiversity protection, please have a look at the current review of the Regional Pest Management and Marine Pathways Plan. You have until 4pm tomorrow to submit to this review, and I'd very much appreciate your input.

mikef@nrc.govt.nz

- Northland Age

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