We work throughout the greater Wellington region to help protect, maintain and restore the local indigenous biodiversity (native plants, animals and ecosystems). Our efforts are guided by the GWRC Biodiversity Strategy.
What the Greater Wellington Regional Council does for biodiversity?
GWRC’s biodiversity programmes and activities aim to protect areas with high biodiversity values across the region as well as restore ecosystems in degraded areas, where possible. We work with a range of stakeholders, agencies and the public to do this. The Biodiversity department's Operational Plan 2013-16 explains the department’s functions and structure, and sets out the nature and scope of its activities. Many other GWRC programmes and activities contribute to biodiversity outcomes. These include the work of the Biosecurity, Land Management, Flood Protection, Parks, and Environmental Science departments and others.
Our management activities focus on maintaining and restoring the best and most threatened examples of our native ecosystems, habitats of threatened plants and animals and ecological connections. The management tools we use with landowners and in regional parks include controlling pest animals and plants, facilitating legal protection, exclusion of stock, planting native vegetation, and improving fish passage.
Community and biodiversity
Many people in the community are keen to make a difference and help restore the health of our native ecosystems. We provide advice and support for communities to participate in ecological restoration so we all have a better place to live - including our native plants and animals.
There are a number of ways we support the community. We provide restoration advice and help facilitate care groups who are working to restore rivers and streams, dunes and other ecosystems. We contribute to Restoration Day which is a free conference for community groups or individuals. The conference includes workshops, talks and fieldtrips on topical themes of ecological restoration. We also contribute to Naturespace which is a website for community restoration groups. It provides information about different community groups in New Zealand as well as provides resources to help plan projects and get the best results from conservation efforts.
We are focusing our ‘on the ground’ support in areas of high biodiversity value or threatened ecosystems. The Porirua Harbour and Wairarapa Moana are two areas the Council has identified as a priority.
Porirua Harbour is a nationally significant wildlife area. It is an important nursery for fish, hosts a range of coastal and wetland birds, and has large concentrations of cockles. The seagrass and saltmarsh habitats are also of regional importance. The regional council along with other agencies, iwi and the community are involved in the Porirua Harbour Catchment Programme working to improve the health of the harbour and its catchments.
Wairarapa Moana is the largest wetland system in the lower North Island. It has national and international importance for the indigenous plant and animal communities that are found there. Wairarapa Moana is home to native fish, some rare plants and a range of birds including some international migratory birds. It remains a richly diverse and wild place but is being severely compromised by many threats to its ecology and water quality. The regional council along with other agencies, iwi and organisations are partners in the Wairarapa Moana Wetland Project to restore the wetland treasures.
GWRC undertakes monitoring and research across the region to find out how healthy our ecosystems are and to make sure that our programmes are working. We evaluate our biodiversity by surveying birds and their nesting success, forest regeneration and tree health, abundance of plant and animal pests and much more.
Councils play an important role in protecting significant indigenous vegetation and animals as well as the habitats of threatened animals and plants under the Resource Management Act 1991. GWRC has policies and rules in the Regional Policy Statement and Regional Plans to protect significant indigenous biodiversity, and to maintain ecosystem health. We provide specialist advice and technical support to ensure that indigenous biodiversity is considered in resource consent applications and the statutory planning documents of district and city councils.
Why is biodiversity important?
Plants and animals (biodiversity) interact with the environment and form ecosystems. These ecosystems are vital for our everyday life; forests clean the air we breathe and insects pollinate the plants which provide our food. These are important services and products that come from healthy ecosystems.
For more information you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 04 384 5708