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New Action Plan for Hawke’s Bay's Biodiversity

Bruce Clarkson

A collective approach is the key to improving the health of native animals and plants and their habitats in Hawke’s Bay.

That’s the message given to close to two hundred people gathered in Havelock North on Tuesday 22 May for the launch of the Hawke's Bay Biodiversity Action Plan 2017-2020.  Many of those attending came from the 60 different environmental groups, local authorities, educational institutions and government agencies already working to improve biodiversity in the region.

The plan is the first tool aimed at implementing the Hawke’s Bay Biodiversity Strategy. Developed in 2015 the strategy aims to have important biodiversity habitats and populations of native species in Hawke’s Bay enhanced, healthy and functioning by 2050. A key element of the plan is the establishment of the Biodiversity Guardians, which will represent the public in biodiversity and actively oversee the strategy in action.

Hawke's Bay Regional Council has been a major supporter of the development of Biodiversity Hawke's Bay, the strategy and action plan, and CEO James Palmer is a member of the Biodiversity Hawke's Bay Foundation Board.

Biodiversity Guardians Chairperson and Operations Manager for the Department of Conservation in Napier, Connie Norgate says Hawke’s Bay has lost a large part of its biodiversity, including a range of species, habitats and networks that help create a healthy environment.

“The vision is to bring together all the groups and individuals working to protect what is left, enhance habitats and make a difference,” says Connie Norgate.

“There is already great work being done in Hawke’s Bay to protect birds, plants and habitats. We believe by bringing together everyone’s collective knowledge and great mahi we will be more effective,” says Connie Norgate.

She says members of the public can show their support by becoming Biodiversity Guardians.

Bruce Clarkson2The University of Waikato's Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, Professor Bruce Clarkson (photo) was the keynote speaker at the launch. He is one of New Zealand's foremost authorities on ecological restoration.

“To achieve what this action plan sets out, we have to move beyond revegetation in our urban centres such as Napier and Hastings and Hamilton where I am from.  We must look at restoration of our biodiversity and the reconstruction of indigenous ecosystems,” he said.

At the end of his address he announced the Environmental Research Institute (ERI) of the University of Waikato as the first Corporate Biodiversity Guardian member. The ERI undertakes environmental research to help improve and sustain New Zealand’s natural and physical environment.

The HB Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan are available on the Biodiversity HB website. Individuals and organisations can go to the website to join the Guardians and be part of making a change in Hawke's Bay's biodiversity.

28 May 2018

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