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Update: Windsurfing off Shakespear Regional Park, Auckland

Update on the Shakespear Open Sanctuary project now that it has been nearly a month since the last aerial application occurred on the open sanctuary. The three aerial bait applications were completed successfully and in the best possible timeframe. Excellent weather conditions allowed us to carry out the three applications with the minimum gap (of two weeks) between flying days despite a wetter than average July. Each application went ‘without a hitch’ and our system of observers and ground crew allowed effective collection of any bait that fell outside of the operational area.

Project partner support has been fantastic and we commend the support of New Zealand Defence Force, Watercare Services, YMCA Shakespear Lodge, SOSSI and park volunteers.

Independent observers of the aerial operations, which included groups that opposed our resource consent, have been complimentary of the care and attention to detail taken by those involved in the operations.

We have been very pleased with the bait uptake and the breakdown of the residual bait. We continue to sweep the park, monitor for pest activity and remove animal carcasses where appropriate. It is important to note that, when asked the question of ‘How many dead pests have you collected?”, we remind people that these numbers do not paint the whole picture as many of our pests will go find cover to die and therefore not be retrieved or counted.

Park reopening
The early completion of the aerial operation means we will be able to open the park earlier than first indicated. Our consistent communications have referred to a ‘mid-December’ reopening date – this allowed us to factor in time for unfavourable weather delays.

We are now working toward a reopening date of Thursday 1 December 2011. Ongoing monitoring of bait breakdown may allow us to bring this date forward even further. Livestock will return 1 December.

There will be no further temporary closures of Army and Okoromai Bays. We continue to advise users exercising dogs in the designated Army and Okoromai Bay areas, to ensure dogs are kept under control at all times as there may still be poisoned carcasses found in this area.

Campground and picnic site bookings from 1 December will be made available from Tuesday 6 September. We have worked with the contact centre to select a date that will enable them to manage anticipated call volumes effectively and gives those planning for the holiday period nearly three months lead time.

While the park remains closed, a range of ground-based pest eradication operations will continue on the park. This includes trapping for mustelids, hedgehogs and any remaining rats; detection dog monitoring for signs of rodents, mustelids, hedgehogs, and rabbits (and targeting these pests accordingly); spotlight hunting; and implementing longer-term monitoring and surveillance control methods including traps and tracking tunnels.

Once the park reopens, pest eradication operations will continue as we deal with any remaining pests and monitor for any incursions, this is particularly important in the park buffer zone to the west of the fence. We will also be asking the public to be vigilant about ensuring they don’t transfer pests into the sanctuary through vehicles or equipment.

While the aerial applications of brodifacoum bait are complete, there is a requirement for the signs advising the public of the use of the poison bait to remain in place for one year after the last application; so these won’t be removed until early August 2012.

Post operational wildlife monitoring commenced on Thursday 18 August. In regard to monitoring the effects on seafood, pre and post operational samples have been sent to the lab and we will notify you and the public at large as soon as possible when the all clear has been given.

Please feel free to pass any of this information on to the windsurfing community – they are probably particularly interested in the park reopening date.

Kind regards,
Annette

Annette Campion | Project Coordinator
Shakespear Open Sanctuary
Ph 09 301 0101 | open.sanctuary@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
Auckland Council
Visit our website: www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz

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