Coun­cil marks Biose­cu­rity Month

South Waikato News - - NEWS -

The re­cent Queens­land fruit fly scare in Auck­land is a clas­sic ex­am­ple of the en­vi­ron­men­tal and eco­nomic threats posed by pests, says the Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil.

The coun­cil is work­ing to raise pub­lic aware­ness of th­ese threats dur­ing na­tional Biose­cu­rity Month 2012, this month.

‘‘Coun­cil staff are at the fore­front of pre­vent­ing an­i­mal and plant pests from en­ter­ing our re­gion and con­trol­ling them when they are es­tab­lished here,’’ said coun­cil biose­cu­rity group man­ager John Sim­mons.

‘‘The Auck­land fruit fly scare high­lighted the im­por­tant role of biose­cu­rity in pro­tect­ing in­dus­try, the en­vi­ron­ment and the econ­omy.’’

In re­cent years the coun­cil has worked with other agen­cies in suc­cess­fully de­fend­ing the re­gion against three ‘ new ar­rival’ pest plants: bat-wing pas­sion flower, Chi­nese knotweed and sea spurge.

Sea spurge ( Euphor­bia par­alias) was found on a beach near Aotea Har­bour in Fe­bru­ary. This sand dune in­vader prob­a­bly ar­rived on ocean cur­rents from Aus­tralia, where it has caused ma­jor en­vi­ron­men­tal prob­lems at many beaches. The in­va­sive vine Chi­nese knotweed (Per­si­ca­nia chi­nen­sis), found in two gar­dens in Hamilton in July 2011, was con­tained and de­stroyed. The vine spreads rapidly and smoth­ers na­tive plants, for­est ar­eas and hor­ti­cul­ture op­er­a­tions. Bat-wing pas­sion flower (Pas­si­flora apetala) was found in a con­tained site at Thames in 2010. It is a very in­va­sive climber, with the abil­ity to smother, shade and stran­gle its host plants.

‘‘ The re­gional coun­cil’s biose­cu­rity work is fo­cused on erad­i­ca­tion and control of the worst pests. As a result, our na­tive plants and an­i­mals, tourism, agri­cul­tural and hor­ti­cul­tural in­dus­tries and our health all ben­e­fit,’’ Mr Sim­mons said.

‘‘From help­ing tui and na­tive bats in ur­ban Hamilton through Hamilton Halo and Pro­ject Echo re­spec­tively, to con­trol­ling pas­ture weeds to in­crease farm­ers’ prof­its, biose­cu­rity ben­e­fits all of the com­mu­nity in some way.’’

The coun­cil is run­ning a Biose­cu­rity Month quiz so peo­ple can test their knowl­edge and go in the draw to win some great prizes. Visit waika­tore­gion. govt. nz/ biose­cu­rity to en­ter, and for more on the coun­cil’s biose­cu­rity work.

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