ORC failing threatened wetlands, says Otago Fish & Game

Press Release – Otago Fish and Game

Fish & Game says the Otago Regional Council (ORC) has failed to recognise some of the region’s significant wetlands or make provisions to adequately protect what remains of these threatened ecosystems.Media release from Otago Fish & Game ORC failing threatened wetlands, says Otago Fish & Game

Fish & Game says the Otago Regional Council (ORC) has failed to recognise some of the region’s significant wetlands or make provisions to adequately protect what remains of these threatened ecosystems.

In his submission on water plan changes at a hearing today, Fish and Game Environmental Officer Peter Wilson expressed concern that an ORC staff report recommends further reducing the protected areas of several important wetlands in Otago from those areas defined in 2011.

This recommendation was made despite submissions urging protection of all wetland values, Mr Wilson points out.

“Highly valued wetlands such as Diamond Lake and Lake Reid, at Glenorchy, have been given even smaller boundaries than those recommended last year.”

Fish and Game is concerned at the way the regional council assessed wetlands, with a narrow focus on wetland vegetation as the defining feature, rather than considering hydrological characteristics or wildlife habitat values.

Mr Wilson identifies a lack of incentives designed to encourage wetland protection as a problem and suggests resource consent fee relief for landowners and the community where wetland values are enhanced.

“ORC needs a monitoring regime for wetlands recognised in the plan or the decline in Otago’s wetland areas will continue. Our region has already lost far too many of these precious ecosystems – along with vital functions they serve. The regional council should be protecting what remains, not neglecting it.”

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