Looking after our plants and wildlife
Otago is New Zealand’s second largest region. Our biodiverse plants and wildlife come under threat from pest plants and animals as well as humans and we have some very special species to look after, some unique to Otago.
Biodiversity outcomes are often delivered through our work on water. We also achieve those outcomes through our biosecurity work like on wilding pines, rabbits and wallabies. We don’t often kill pests ourselves these days, except on our own land or as part of our wallaby programme, but we work with landowners to ensure they understand and comply with our Regional Pest Management Plan. We do recognise that our spending on biodiversity is light.
While our pest work has benefits for biodiversity, we need to address the level and balance of our resources to be effective in both biosecurity and biodiversity in the future.
We’re completing a business case that determines the operating approach we’ll take to deliver future services. The service that we provide must be sustainable for the community. Our business case will inform a future conversation with you about ‘how much’ and ‘how fast’ we deliver. This will occur in the next 12 months.
So, for 2020-21, we propose to inject more resource into pest management as we rise to the challenge of implementing the new pest management plan. We want to get better at working with landowner groups to support them in managing pests on their properties.
Our pest management plan is an important step forward. It sets out the rules and requirements for managing specified pests in Otago. It gives us more effective powers to work with landowners who need to do more to control pests on their properties, particularly in areas on the outskirts of cities, towns or villages. We have more work to do managing pests on Crown land.
For biodiversity, 2020-21 is about using our current, albeit limited resource, to build an Otago inventory of biodiversity – it’s a critical piece of work that supports landowners, communities and ORC to make decisions and choices.
Our ECO Fund continues to support community-driven, environmental projects that protect and enhance Otago’s environment. Our funding support for the good work of the Predator Free Dunedin project is now into its second year.
While there are challenges ahead, in partnership with Otago communities, we’ll continue to progress our work protecting the health of our ecosystems and wildlife.
Consultation has concluded