Biodiversity strategy launched with pride

Published: 15 May 2024

The community’s first biodiversity strategy, Our Natural Place, was officially launched by the Ashburton District Biodiversity Advisory Group this week, with pride.

The strategy has been drafted, consulted on and finally adopted by Council, with digital copies available online and paper copies from the Customer Service counter at Te Whare Whakatere.

Mayor Neil Brown officially thanked members of the advisory group, staff and stakeholders who had put in lots of work over many months to make the strategy happen.

“It’s a great document, a community document led by Council, and now we work to implement it.

“Council has a leadership role to play but our district’s biodiversity needs all parts of the community to work together. Putting words on paper is easy, implementation is everything and we need everyone in our district to take ownership for the health of our natural environment.”

Biodiversity is a short term for biological diversity and describes the variety of different species (micro-organisms and fungi trees, plants and animals) and their ecosystems. The Ashburton District is home to indigenous plants and animals like limestone rocks, costal dongas, wetlands, lakes and braided rivers.

The strategy is mostly concerned with the protection and management of these and lists short-term, medium-term and long-term goals.

Short-term goals include plan changes to protect sites of ecological value, supporting pest management and promoting weed prevention.

Education and awareness are also goals, along with encouraging community participation.

Mayor Brown said an implementation plan should be ready by 1 July and short-term actions under way within the next 12 months.

“The strategy document itself is educational and there are descriptions and photos of the district’s biodiversity and how it links to manawhenua and the national picture. I encourage everyone with an interest in our environment to take a look.”

The Ashburton District Biodiversity Advisory Group members represent Council, QEII Trust, Ashburton Water Zone Committee, Environment Canterbury, Forest and Bird, Ashburton Community Conservation Trust, Awa Awa Rata Reserve, Foothills Landcare Group, Department of Conservation, Kanuka Trust, Mid Canterbury Catchment Collective, Fonterra, Synlait, Fish and Game, Federated Farmers, Mt Somers Walkway Society and Lake Heron Conservation Society.

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