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ORC to seek public feedback on wilding conifer management

Media Release - 17 November 2015

The Otago Regional Council is seeking public feedback about the management of wilding conifers spreading across the Otago region.

ORC chairman Stephen Woodhead said the council had launched an online survey (http://www.orc.govt.nz/Information-and-Services/Pest-Control/Plant-pests/Wilding-Conifers/) to gauge how concerned people are about the spread of wilding conifers, the impacts they were most concerned about, and to gauge community views on ORC support for existing community wilding control groups. The survey will be available online until early next year.

ORC chairman Stephen Woodhead said the council had launched an online survey (http://www.orc.govt.nz/Information-and-Services/Pest-Control/Plant-pests/Wilding-Conifers/) to gauge how concerned people are about the spread of wilding conifers, the impacts they were most concerned about, and to gauge community views on ORC support for existing community wilding control groups. The survey will be available online until early next year.

Mr Woodhead said the council was aware of growing community concern about wildings. Recent reports had identified that more than 300,000 ha of Otago has some wilding infestation, with this figure likely to triple to 900,00ha in the next 20 years if nothing further is done.

The survey was designed to gain feedback about an important regional issue and to inform the council before it considers options for assisting with wilding management, he said.

Wilding conifers take up significant amounts of soil moisture and degrade landscape and scenic values important to many people in Otago. They can survive from coastal Otago areas to the inland high country, and their seeds are easily spread.

If nothing further is done, large areas of scenic open tussock landscape will be lost, along with productive pastoral areas. Dense infestations will reduce water yields from river catchments.

Mr Woodhead said a co-ordinated regional and national management approach to the issue was needed while it was still possible to win the battle and contain the spread of wildings.

“ORC is considering whether it will propose funding for community-based wilding control projects in the draft 2016/17 Annual Plan and we want to hear the public sentiment,” he said.

Once the public feedback had been received, management options would be included in the draft plan for public consultation, Mr Woodhead said.

For more information please contact

Stephen Woodhead
Chairman
ORC
Ph 027 280 1635

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