A new concept plan to control pest plants and weeds along
riverbeds could create more opportunities for recreational
uses along riverbanks.
In a first for the country, Environment Southland has created
the ''Managing Unwanted Vegetation in Southland Rivers
Concept Plan'' as a way to efficiently manage weeds and pest
plants along riverbeds long term.
It has been developed in conjunction with the Department of
Conservation and Land Information New Zealand.
Environment Southland catchment works supervisor Ken McGraw
said the plan was created after an annual meeting with the
River Liaison Committee determined the annual budgets for
controlling pest plants were increasing every year.
While plants such as gorse and broom were usually controlled
by herbicides, Mr McGraw said it was time to investigate
other options to identify the most cost-effective and
efficient way to control the plants.
''It's a long-term approach to sustainably managing unwanted
plants on the river beds.
''We want to reduce the costs and dependency on herbicides.''
Mr McGraw said the community was encouraged to give feedback
on the plan about what they valued most about the river
''What comes out of this plan is the recreational value of
river corridors - they are not just things that are important
to the agricultural sector.
''They are also important to the wider community as places to
recreate - they have landscape values and other qualities.''
Three different options were being trialled for the next five
years to determine if they would be effective, sustainable,
and cost-efficient, as well as being beneficial to the
land-owners undertaking the trials.
The first was a grazing trial, where stock would be able to
graze in an area along the river berm until it was more
The second was also using stock to thin out the plants, which
would then be cut and carried.
The last trial involved planting native trees along the
riverbanks to ensure there was biodiversity.