“Committing long-term funding for community-led predator-free projects shows we’re deadly serious about making our city predator free and enabling native biodiversity to flourish,” the Mayor says.
Wellington City Council’s draft 10-Year Plan, which will be released on Friday evening, earmarks $3.6 million over 10 years to support the predator-free goal. That includes funding for community groups to install and manage traps in Wellington.
“We’re fortunate and thankful that more than 5000 Wellington households and numerous community conservation groups are already involved in predator control projects,” the Mayor says.
“It’s heartening to see Wellingtonians already coming together on this important issue, and we’re proud to increase our funding for these community-building eco-initiatives.”
The Predator Free Wellington project — a partnership between Wellington City Council, Greater Wellington Regional Council and The NEXT Foundation to rid the city of rats, possums and mustelids — will be rolled out on Miramar Peninsula this year before being implemented citywide.
The Peninsula was chosen as a starting point because the airport and sea act as an effective predator barrier, and a successful campaign rid the area of possums in 2006.
The Mayor says community-led predator-free projects work hand-in-hand with Zealandia’s role as an incubator of wildlife, and give native birds a home to go to outside the reserve’s fence.
“Thanks to these collaborative efforts, all signs point to Wellington becoming the world’s first predator-free capital,” he says.
Predator Free Wellington portfolio leader Councillor Andy Foster says that with a growing population we need to ensure we live in harmony with our environment.
“We’ve come on an incredible environmental restoration journey over the past 25 years with land protection, Zealandia, pest control and revegetation. This would not have been possible without the passionate advocacy and hands on participation by an ever increasing number of Wellingtonians in a wide range of restoration work.
“We haven’t finished yet, and becoming predator free so that birds, lizards and insects can survive is the next important step in this transformation,” Cr Foster says.
Predator Free Wellington builds on a 20-year programme of integrated predator control and broader ecological restoration undertaken in reserves and rural areas.
The Council’s 10-Year Plan also includes investing in core water management infrastructure, investing in a regional trails framework to support active lifestyles, and new exhibits at Wellington Zoo.
Mayor Lester says it is important that Wellington, as the capital city, shows leadership on environmental challenges.
“We can, and should, use resources more efficiently and effectively to help reduce and eliminate harmful impacts on our environment.”
The draft 10-Year Plan document will be discussed by the Council on 7 March, and formal consultation will begin on 15 April. The full Council will meet mid-year to approve the 10-Year Plan.