Nelson Nature’s annual pest control operation to protect the forests in the Maitai and Roding water reserves will take place from 28 September – 9 October this year.

Goats and deer graze on young native seedlings, which can damage or kill them and prevent the forest regenerating naturally. 

The pest operation is carried out by professional hunters working from the land as well as via helicopter with infrared equipment. The operation is designed to reduce pest numbers to low levels over a long time-frame so the forest has a chance to recover.  More than 4,200 ha of the reserve will be covered.

The areas covered by the programme need special protection as they are home to threatened plants associated with the limestone geology in the area, and to plants found only in the Dun Mountain Mineral Belt ecosystem.

“This programme aims to control the grazing animals so that the young trees in the native forest regenerate naturally,” says Nelson City Council Group Manager Environmental Management Clare Barton. “its an important part of caring for and restoring the largest intact forest ecosystem in the Nelson region.

Ms Barton said that the 2018 and 2019 pest control operations removed approximately 310 deer and goats.  “The professional hunters are time and cost-effective, and very efficient.”
“While recreational hunters do assist with controlling the pest animal populations, a more systematic annual control is needed to achieve a significant reduction in pest numbers and support the long-term survival of our forests.
“Access to the area is closed for everyone, including recreational hunters, during the control period because of health and safety requirements while the professional hunters are at work.”

Track Closures
Please note all tracks in the Maitai and Roding catchments will be closed between 28 September – 9 October (inclusive), this is to allow contractors to carry out the pest animal hunting operations safely.
Warning signage will be in place at trail entrances to give advance notice of the closures.
Additional information is available on the Council website

Council apologises for any inconvenience and recommends people follow all signage and respect restrictions.