Clutha river nearby to Luggate

    Conifer control efforts making good progress

    (Republished from Wānaka App - 10th June 2022)


    Almost 6,800 hectares of conifers around Luggate will go under aerial and ground control this month. 

    The work is part of the Otago Regional Council’s (ORC) wilding conifer control programme around Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes.

    For the 2021-2022 conifer control works season, more than 28,000 hectares have already been treated by aerial spray or ground works, including 374ha of “dense infestations” around Queenstown Hill, Ben Lomond, Moke Lake and Skippers.

    “Progress is going really well and to plan around the conifer controls,” ORC manager environmental implementation Andrea Howard said.

    The National Wilding Conifer Control Programme is one of four key projects (under Jobs for Nature) being led by the ORC, and Containing Wallabies to Protect Agriculture, Forestry and Native Plants is a second important programme.

    Between July last year and April, 123,840 hectares have been searched for wallabies, with 22 sightings reported and three animals destroyed, Andrea said.

    Operations to search for wallabies are progressing across seven management units, with four ground-based contractors using a range of aerial and ground-based surveillance methods.

    “This includes the ground hunters with dogs, but also using thermally equipped drones and aerial surveillance with thermal cameras,” she said.

    There are a total of 25 Jobs for Nature funded projects currently around Otago, totalling $53M, which are predicted to create more than 450 jobs. 

    Other than conifers and wallabies, the other two key ORC projects are Private Land Biodiversity and the Te Hakapupu/Pleasant River restoration projects.

    Andrea provided an update on the progress on the wide range of environmental projects currently underway at the ORC’s Cromwell meeting of the Implementation committee, which took place yesterday (June 9).


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