Environmental / biodiversity

Rob Cross is Council’s Biodiversity Advisor. He can offer you advice on pest animal and weed control, planting natives and maintaining ecological sites.

  • If you want to plant natives over the winter as a group, contact Rob on 04-296 4653 or email rob.cross@kapiticoast.govt.nz. Planting locally-sourced natives helps the environment. The booklet Growing Native Plants in Kapiti is a useful source of local information about planting in local conditions and is available from Council offices.
  • Rob also administers the Council’s Heritage Fund which assists private landowners to protect and manage the ecologically precious parts of their property, such as native bush and wetlands. Funding is available for fencing, pest animal and weed control, planting, the development of management plans and covenanting. Projects are funded on a cost sharing basis, with Council contributing up to $5,000.
  • Assistance with fencing ecological sites and riparian margins is available through the Heritage and Riparian Funds.
  • Though the control of pest animals and noxious environmental weeds is the responsibility of Greater Wellington Regional Council, Rob can provide advice on pest animal and weed control in natural areas or around ecological sites.

Greater Wellington Regional Council has information on our regional parks and forests, including maps, directions, and information on events, activities and camping. They also have regular weed swap events and run a great summer programme of guided walks, tramps and family days – watch their website for details. Information on DOC-managed parks in our region can be found here.

If you’re looking for opportunities to become involved in environmental restoration, there are a range of resources available:

  • Nature Space is the go-to website for groups, individuals and landowners undertaking ecological restoration in New Zealand. You can search for a group, list your own group, link with other groups, or explore the resources and community notices.
  • Greater Wellington also have a list of local care groups you could get in touch with and offer some written resources online for planning and carrying out your environmental project.

Extensive information on native plants can be found on the web and through the library. Websites worth a look are:

  • The Green Toolbox is a free Windows-based software package to help users choose and evaluate plants for a variety of land management applications, throughout New Zealand.
  • New Zealand Plant Conservation Network provides information about New Zealand’s flora, native and exotic, with a long list of species by their Latin and common names and their status.

If weeds are your problem, have a look at:

  • Landcare Research have a list of useful websites.
  • Weedbusters is another great site which has an A-Z of weeds (and suggestions for their control).
  • The library holds copies of the Department of Conservation’s book, Plant Me Instead, which not only helps to identify and control unwanted weeds but suggested attractive, non-invasive alternatives.

KCC (Kiwi Conservation Club), junior Forest & Bird, is a membership-based group for kids who are “wild about nature”. A $19 annual subscription gives members a Wild Things magazine five times a year and the chance to take part in outdoor trips and activities in the Wellington region. The website also has some games, quizzes, activity ideas and information about our wildlife and wild places.

Landcare Research has some good family-friendly resources:

  • They organise an annual Bioblitz – a 24-hour race to count as many species as possible in a large urban area. If you were really keen, you could adapt this idea for your street, but you may just want to have a look at the great identification posters that can be downloaded from the site.
  • They also collaborate with Forest & Bird and the Ornithological Society to monitor the distribution and population trends of garden birds through their annual Garden Bird Survey. This is open to all and on now.
  • And they have a great online bug identification guide.

If you’re keen to get your hands dirty for the conservation cause, various planting and working bee dates can be found through:

And if you’re thinking of getting a bird  feeder (either for food or sugar water), Rob Cross offers the following precautions for making sure it’s an asset, not a liability for your local birds:

  • The design must allow for all parts (containers, nozzles, perches) to be cleaned and for containers and nozzles to be easily removed for cleaning
  • Containers and nozzles should be removed and cleaned with hot soapy water between feedings
  • Containers and nozzles should be soaked in ‘Napi San’ or comparable anti-bacterial/germicidal agent once a week
  • Perches should be cleaned with hot soapy water once a week

These measures are essential to prevent feeding stations becoming centers for the spread of avian diseases. Sick birds hang around feeders.

  • Do not over-feed –  one feed of a set amount per day that is entirely consumed within a few hours ensures birds do not become overly dependent and that artificially high populations are not maintained.
  • Ensure feeders are placed where cats cannot predate birds.
  • Do not use sugar water feeders during the breeding season (mid-August to March) if cats have access to nesting habitat near the feeder; nectar eaters such as tui and bellbird try to nest near reliable food sources, and encouraging them to nest in dangerous areas is bad news.

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