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Updated 18 August 2017 3:32pm

Aug 2017 - Spraying in QEP

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why are GWRC spraying in Queen Elizabeth Park?

2. What kinds of spraying is carried out on QEP and why?

3. Are the chemicals and herbicides used, safe?

4. Which chemicals or herbicides are used?

5. Are there alternatives to spraying?

6. Are the spraying methods GWRC use safe?

7. Can herbicides/sprays harm waterways and other fauna?

8. What are the different types of spraying?

9. How does GWRC tell the community when spraying is taking place and when?

 Q1: Why are GWRC or our licence holders spraying in Queen Elizabeth Park?

There are a range of reasons why we or our licence holders spray invasive weeds. Queen Elizabeth Park (QEP) is such a large area of land, so spraying is used for different reasons in various parts of the park.

We spray herbicides to:

  • tackle the growth of longstanding and widespread exotic invasive weeds in the park, such as Gorse, Blackberry, Lupin.
  • prevent the weeds from overwhelming the park environment and dominating native plants and/or pasture.
  • prepare parts of the park for planting and provide protection until the trees grow enough to out-compete the weeds. Each year volunteers and our staff plant more than 12,000 native trees at QEP, so it is important to prepare the ground by spraying planting spots with glyphosate to kill the grass so that young plants are able to thrive throughout the park.
  • renew pastures on the farmed area to increase productivity. At QEP large areas are sown in plantain (a herb) clover and other pasture and spraying avoids the drawbacks of ploughing (erosion, burying beneficial organisms, exposing gorse seeds to light and encouraging germination).
  • protect walking tracks and sealed areas, from being damaged by weeds growing through the surface and by water damage as weeds prevent tracks drying out.

 Q2: What kinds of spraying is carried out on QEP and why?

GWRC employs staff or contractors to carry out primarily ground based spraying using “gun and hose” machines, mainly from vehicles, to target specific weeds in retired areas, to free up water flow in streams, or to maintain park infrastructure.

For very large weed infestations we are working with the Friends of QEP to understand and address community concerns around aerial spraying so that these weeds can be effectively controlled. Staff or contractors may also use backpack spraying to deal with small scale infestations.

Our farm licence holder may carry out ground based spraying using tractor booms as part of the pasture renewal programme. A key reason for doing this is to kill the grass growing in certain places so new grass can grow without competition. Often a different species of grass is planted that is better suited to Kapiti weather conditions to deliver better nutrition to the animals grazing on it.

There are no practicable alternatives to spraying in these early stages of pasture renovation. It is the most effective and efficient way to rehabilitate areas of land as large as QEP

Our farmer and pony club licence holders also use “gun and hose” spraying to control localised and accessible weeds such as gorse and lupin.

Despite the willingness of the Kapiti community there aren’t enough volunteers to manage the arduous work required to renew all the pastures in the park. Similarly, it would not be feasible for farm practices to maintain a significant workforce to manually cut or grub weeds – many of which are several metres high.

 Q3: Are the chemicals and herbicides used, safe?

Yes. We strictly adhere to all legislation, standards and protocols designed to protect you, your community and the environment from potentially negative effects associated with these chemicals. This is of the utmost importance to Greater Wellington Regional Council.

All herbicides for sale in New Zealand have been assessed and approved for use by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and are strictly regulated.

Additional legislation we abide by includes:

 Q4: Which chemicals or herbicides are used?

Because of the wide range of weeds present across QEP, we use a number of different herbicides as part of control methods. Examples include:

  • Roundup (Glyphosate): we use glyphosate based chemical that has other trade names
  • Weedmaster
  • Conquest
  • Headstart
  • Kamba 500
  • Prestige
  • Sequence
  • Sharpen
  • Thistrol Plus
  • Metsulfuron (metsulfuron methyl)
  • Terminate
  • Picloram

The insecticides used include:

  • Ampligo
  • Sparta

 Q5: Are there alternatives to spraying?

GWRC uses a wide range of weed control methods including mowing, mulching and grazing by farm animals. We plant up retired areas in species suited to the local environment, which resist weed invasion. However in some cases there are no practicable alternatives to spraying. It is the most effective and efficient way to rehabilitate areas of land as large as QEP.

Despite the willingness of the Kapiti community there aren’t enough volunteers to manage the arduous work required to hand weed and/ or plant all the land in the park. Similarly, it would be uneconomic for farm practices to maintain a significant workforce to manually cut or grub weeds – many of which are several metres high.

 Q6: Are the spraying methods GWRC use safe?

Yes. GWRC, our park licence holders and in some cases our volunteers carry out spraying and other plant pest control (eg cut & paste) using the latest methods. Spraying is tightly controlled and the safest, most environmentally friendly way to control large scale invasive weeds.

To ensure our processes are as safe as possible GWRC staff and contractors are Growsafe certified and comply with the NZ Standard in this area of work. We also have strict health and safety rules in place to ensure our staff and volunteers are not affected when using herbicides as part of their work.

Before any spraying takes place we carry out rigid onsite inspections to identify potential hazards, agree if spraying is the best approach, which herbicide should be use and how it should be applied.

Spraying is only undertaken in fine weather, still or very light conditions to prevent any spray from drifting wider than the target area. If weather conditions change and are likely to affect the delivery of the chemicals, spraying immediately stops.

 Q7: Can herbicides/sprays harm waterways and other fauna?

When spraying GWRC specifically avoids ‘sensitive areas’ such as streams and waterways. Every so often we may need to spray weeds that choke waterways and prevent streams from flowing to prevent flooding. Again, when we do this we follow all rules and regulations regarding aquatic weed removal and safety process in the Regional Fresh Water Plan.

 Q8: What are the different types of spraying?

Ground based spraying – also tackles invasive weeds but just from the ground. The most efficient way to do this on such a large area like QEP is to use a tractor or vehicle mounted boom to apply the herbicide. GWRC rangers and contractors also carry out hand-held spot spraying which is carried out using a “gun & hose” from a vehicle mounted tank or a knapsack sprayer. The application of the spray is designed to cling to the weeds and not sink into the soil.

Aerial spraying – is used to tackle invasive weeds we can’t control using ground based methods. Mostly this includes large scale infestations of pest weeds that grow up to 4 metres high and cover hectares of land.

The technology GWRC uses enables spray reaches the targeted area safely. The nozzles attached to a helicopters boom disperses large droplets of herbicide rather than a fine mist which means the spray falls at a controlled rate and is less likely to be carried by the wind outside of the planned spray zone.

 Q9: How does GWRC tell the community when spraying is taking place and when?

GWRC comply with all legal requirements to inform people about when and where we will be spraying at QEP. Our notification process is a key part of our spray planning and the procedures we follow on the day spraying takes place.

If ground spraying is going to be carried out we make sure we tell the coummunity if it is going to be done with high pressure equipment such as a gun, hose or boom. Every property adjoining the boundary of the property being sprayed is notified. Often this is done via public notification in local newspapers or by individual correspondence.

Signs are placed at all access points to the site to advise the public that spraying will be taking place.

We also work with Friends of QEP and other park stakeholders to make sure that they have been notified and can share this information with their members.

AUG 2016 - Kāpiti Biodiversity Project 

There are plenty of opportunities to get involved in this really exciting project on the Kāpiti Coast. Check out the newsletter and make the most of the beautiful spring weather to get involved in a very worthwhile project.

Here is the latest newsletter with all the information you need.

NOV 2015 - Weed spraying in Queen Elizabeth Park – Background to the public meeting

A public meeting was held at Raumati South Memorial Hall, 7 Tennis Court Road, on 14 November 2015 between 10:00-noon at which we listened to the community's concerns, answered questions and made our officals available directly after the meeting to talk to members of the community. See responces to questions and answers under the public support documents.