Weed infestations in a number of covenants and other natural places can begin to be tackled thanks to a successful joint funding bid by QEII National Trust and Weedbusters.
DOC’s Community Conservation Partnership Fund (CCPF) has granted $500,000 over 3 years which will go to a joint programme run by Weedbusters NZ and the QEII National Trust. The grant will be used to fund voluntary weedbusting efforts in priority regions by community groups and covenantors with regional and local council involvement.
National Trust Chair James Guild says weeds have impacted heavily on the health of natural habitats and species and are ruining the appearance of our rural and natural landscapes.
‘National Trust covenantors have worked tirelessly and invested heavily over years to defend their covenants against weed invasions but in many cases the problems have become overwhelming.
‘Regional weed infestations of plants like old man's beard have simply become too rife and too expensive for people to deal with on their own,’ he says.
National Trust covenantors have currently established just over 4000 covenants protecting around 180,000ha of land. They voluntarily protect significant natural and cultural features across New Zealand's modified landscapes where those features are most at risk and least protected.
Guild says the $500,000 will be used to support the weedbusting efforts of community groups and landowners around the country. The results of this 3-year weedbusting purge will provide essential guidance on how a wider-scale programme might be developed further down the track.
‘We are not funded to help covenantors with weed and pest control so the CCPF support is very welcome.
‘It means they can be supported in the war against weeds through a programme that will work collaboratively with landowners, councils, and the community in general,’ he says.
It is also good news for community Weedbusters groups who are tackling various weed issues in their local areas.
'Many of these groups are small but dedicated, and this fund will help them access the essential tools and resources they need to continue their efforts,’ says national Weedbusters coordinator, Carolyn Lewis.
As a first step to becoming part of this national weedbusting effort, local groups doing voluntary weed control are urged to register at www.weedbusters.org.nz.
In a separate CCPF grant the National Trust has been awarded $17,000 to develop track and interpretation signage for the Mahu Whenua covenants near Queenstown. Registered earlier this year, the vast 51,550ha covenants protect high country landscape features and a suite of natural and cultural values as well as public access and recreation opportunities. New Zealand Walking Access Commission has added a further $5,000 to that sum to go towards the planning and design costs for the signage.
Weedbusters — www.weedbusters.co.nz
Queen Elizabeth II National Trust — www.openspace.org.nz
Media liaison — Anne McLean, Queen Elizabeth II National Trust — Tel: 04 474 1689