Skip to content

1080 Operations

1080 Operations

Updated 6 July 2021 4:36pm

There are two upcoming or proposed 1080 operations in the Greater Wellington region, and one recently completed:

Find out more about 1080 and 1080 use.

 Akatarawa Forest, July 2021

We have recently undertaken an aerial possum control operation in the Akatarawa Forest, using the biodegradable pesticide, sodium fluoroacetate (1080). Aerial baiting of 1080 occurred on Friday 2 July.

Following this, extra care should be taken in the operational area below until further notice. Hunting is not permitted, and visitors with dogs are advised to stay clear of the area until baits have become non-toxic and any possum carcasses have decomposed. This is expected to take three-four months.

Operational area

The proposed operational area shown on the map below covers approximately 15,100 hectares of the Akatarawa Forest, which is owned and managed by Greater Wellington. Previous aerial 1080 possum control operations have been carried out in this area in 2007 and 2013.

View the full map of the operational area

 South Makara, June-July 2021

We are undertaking an aerial possum control operation on Terawhiti Station and Kinnoull Station, using the biodegradable pesticide, sodium fluoroacetate (1080). This will occur during suitable weather conditions from June 2021.

Operational area

The proposed operational area shown on the map covers approximately 3,200 hectares of regenerating and plantation forest. The area is extremely difficult to access due to the nature of the terrain and density of habitat.

The properties involved are owned and managed locally and there is no public land involved within this operational area.

Why is this operation happening?

This work is being done as part of the Regional Possum Predator Control Programme (RPPCP), which is a Greater Wellington Regional Council pest management initiative that aims to control possums and other predators, which are a serious threat to our native biodiversity and economy.

Greater Wellington has implemented the RPPCP to preserve the work completed by OSPRI (TB free), by maintaining low possum populations in areas declared ‘Bovine TB free’. The RPPCP continues to expand within the Wellington Region, as new areas gain this status.

Possum control has the additional benefit of controlling rats and stoats. Rats will die when they consume possum baits, while stoats will be killed when they consume the carcasses of poisoned rats and possums. A reduction in numbers of these introduced predators will further protect native plants and birds.

 Hutt Water Collection Area, winter 2022

Greater Wellington Regional Council (GW) and Wellington Water Limited (WWL) propose to undertake an aerial possum control operation in the Hutt Water Collection Area (HWCA), using the biodegradable pesticide, sodium fluoroacetate (1080). The operation is proposed to take place during suitable weather conditions in winter 2022.

View the full map of the operational area

Proposed Operational area

The proposed operational area covers approximately 8,750 hectares of the HWCA, located in the southern foothills of the Tararua Ranges.

Our Key Native Ecosystem (KNE) programme identifies and protects some of the most significant natural sites in the region, ensuring natural habitats are healthy and able to support our native plants and animals. The HWCA is an ecologically diverse KNE site with eight different forest types, four wetlands, numerous major and minor watercourses, and sub-alpine and alpine flora present.  

All land within the HWCA is either owned or managed by GW, and has been set aside as a source of water for treatment and supply to the cities of Wellington, Porirua, Lower Hutt and Upper Hutt.

The specific operational area and boundaries will be updated when confirmed.

Why is this operation happening?

Healthy aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems have a positive impact on water quality. This means that managing the key threats to our biodiversity also manages those associated with our water quality. Possums threaten both of these and need to be managed. If the health of the forest is allowed to degrade, it will eventually impact the catchment’s ability to provide healthy fresh water for our communities.

We propose to control possums across the HWCA to ensure that possum numbers remain low for as long as possible. Currently, the best tool we have for this is aerially-sown 1080 (sodium fluoroacetate).

Aerial control is particularly suited for this operation given the size and nature of the area to be treated. Although we often use ground control methods, the rugged nature of this forested terrain, and lack of access and track networks, makes trapping unfeasible.

 1080 as a method

The biggest threat to native wildlife in the Wellington Region is introduced predators such as rats, possums and stoats. We face a choice, let predators reach out of control numbers, or manage them to protect our native species, primary production sector and social wellbeing. Maintaining healthy ecosystems also helps to improve freshwater quality and stable water supply.

When managing predators we use the most efficient method suitable for the area where problems exist. This means we are using a variety of methods aimed to provide effective and efficient control, while minimising impacts on the environment and non-target organisms. We are also very active in supporting research and development of new methods.

The biodegradable pesticide sodium fluoroacetate (or 1080) is one of the many methods we use to manage the array of predators within the Wellington Region. 1080 has been proven over many years to reduce predator numbers safely, with no adverse impact on the environment or human health. We use aerial 1080 for controlling predators in areas which are rugged and/or hard to reach.

Predator control method selection

Our team of experienced Biosecurity Officers are in tune with the latest developments in predator management research.

We rely on the advice from our environmental scientists, who carry out ongoing monitoring to assess areas around the Wellington region which are home to threatened flora, fauna and marine life.

This monitoring helps us to design operations that control predators and improve native biodiversity in the safest and most cost effective way, and adhere to the national best industry practice and all relevant legislation.

What we know about 1080

  • It is highly soluble and does not accumulate or leave permanent residues in soil, water or animals
  • It is found in many plants around the world including New Zealand’s native puha
  • Bird nesting success rate dramatically improves after the use of 1080
  • Many native trees and plant species show significantly better growth and survival after an aerial 1080 operation
  • It does not kill or harm fish
  • Local health authorities apply strict conditions to aerial operations so that drinking water supplies are not contaminated and that the public is informed when and where operations are to be undertaken
  • Its safety has been confirmed through testing water samples following 1080 aerial operations. Several thousand samples have been tested over many years

More information on 1080

We encourage anyone interested in becoming more informed on the subject to explore for yourself. You may wish to view the 1080 website