There are three upcoming or proposed 1080 operations in the Greater Wellington region:
We are undertaking an aerial possum control operation in the Akatarawa Forest, using the biodegradable pesticide, sodium fluoroacetate (1080). Non-toxic pre-feed application is expected to occur during suitable weather conditions from 11 May onwards, and aerial baiting of 1080 is expected approximately 7-10 days following non-toxic pre-feed application.
Both applications are subject to suitable weather conditions. If the pre-feed application is delayed the application of 1080 will also be delayed.
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.
The Akatarawa Forest is one of the best examples of ‘old growth forest’ in the Wellington region, providing habitats that support many regionally and nationally uncommon native species. The forest also contains water sources that may be used for water supply in the future, and areas of plantation forest.
We need to reduce predator numbers to protect the biodiversity and water quality in the Akatarawa Forest. A recent monitoring survey found possums were present throughout the forest, in numbers which exceed target levels. Akatarawa forest is not only the habitat of vulnerable native reptiles, invertebrates and birds, but is home to an extraordinary and unique northern rātā which is 39m tall, and thought to be over 1,100 years old.
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 14 May 2021.
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.
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.
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 2021.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We encourage anyone interested in becoming more informed on the subject to explore for yourself. You may wish to view the 1080 website.