A 10-year strategy outlining the management of freshwater pest plants in the Western South Island Operational Region.

The current presence and incursion risk of invasive freshwater macrophytes within the West Coast Tai Poutini region is having a detrimental effect on the region’s unique biodiversity, cultural, recreational, and commercial values. The species of particular interest include: lagarosiphon (Lagarosiphon major), egeria (Egeria densa), elodea (Elodea canadensis) and parrot’s feather (Myriophyllum aquaticum).

The ongoing incursion risk of hornwort (Ceratophyllum demersum) is also of interest. Due to high recreational use, limited data management and the current lack of a substantial control programme, the risk of spread and new incursions is high in the West Coast Tai Poutini Region, which significantly increases the urgency for prompt implementation of consistent surveillance and control works.

Te Papa Atawhai Department of Conservation (DOC) engaged Boffa Miskell to deliver a 10-year strategy as part of the Bio-18 programme, which seeks to reduce biodiversity loss in Aotearoa New Zealand. This strategy has been developed to help guide DOC in its work, but has not been implemented as DOC policy. The freshwater pest plant strategy identifies the known distribution of species of interest in the West Coast Tai Poutini region, discusses possible control and surveillance techniques, and outlines goals, objectives and milestones aimed towards achieving the overall vision of the strategy:

“To achieve an area where waterbodies and native biodiversity can flourish, while maintaining recreational, economic and cultural values.”

Boffa Miskell also emphasised that to achieve the vision, it is essential that stakeholders collaborate, targeted funding is secured, and a robust and consistent control/surveillance programme is implemented.

The team developed an ArcGIS online platform which depicts the current distribution, surveillance, and control data in the region. This online platform allows for improved data interrogation and provides a new data management platform, which will aid the long-term success of the programme.

Our role was to advise on long-term management techniques, operational planning, stakeholder and community engagement, data management, and GIS and Spatial Analysis.