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Developing a plan for delivering improved biodiversity on the Otago Peninsula needs to be thought through and ‘‘owned'' by the community, Department of Conservation technical support officer Bruce McKinlay says.
Before about 60 people at the Save the Otago Peninsula Society's annual meeting last night, Mr McKinlay emphasised how highly valued the peninsula and its wildlife were to people and how, geographically, it lent itself to the improvement of indigenous biodiversity.
To achieve this, the whole peninsula community, including tourism operators, residents and farmers, needed to all come to the party, he said.
‘‘They need to have a conversation about what they are signing up for, how they plan to deliver it, how it'll work. If they don't have that conversation, it won't work.''
Because of the peninsula's narrow neck, it was well suited geographically to improving biodiversity and one way of doing that was by pest eradication, he said. It was already done in pockets around the peninsula by private landowners, operators and Doc, but it was not particularly well co-ordinated nor did it have an overall objective.
The future of ‘‘iconic'' bird species on the peninsula was dependent on large landscape-scale predator control, he said.
Trapping had been shown to reap benefits and was worth doing ‘‘if it can be done properly''.
However, the likelihood of reinvasion, the level of control, the unintended consequences and the objectives all needed to be considered.
Another possibility was to get ‘‘runs on the board'' by choosing easy pests to eradicate first to build trust, experience and confidence in the community before tackling the harder projects.
Whatever was decided, it was going to be a long-term programme requiring an ongoing relationship between members of the community and local government, Mr McKinlay said.
At the annual meeting, members agreed to update the society's constitution to better reflect its aims.
Spokeswoman Lala Frazer said when Stop was formed 27 years ago, it was to fight the proposed aluminium smelter and its aims had been to oppose large-scale industrial projects.
However, its focus was no longer so narrow as it had moved on to saving remnants of bush, dealing with pests and maintaining other natural values on the peninsula.
The change to the constitution reflected that, with a newly written object stating the society aimed to protect and enhance Otago Peninsula, its landscape, coast harbour, air, flora, fauna, indigenous biodiversity and their ecosystems, and to promote and encourage awareness of, and interest in, the care of its environment.
Officers elected were: Spokesper sons: Lala Frazer, Alf Webb; treasurer Graeme Weir; minutes secretary Jenny Winter; trustees, Alf Webb Moira Parker.