Needle grass infestation spotted

Last updated 14:54 25/01/2013

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The Chilean needle grass search programme currently being undertakenby Environment Canterbury Biosecurity has discovered a new infestation of the noxious weed on a property in the Spotswood area.

This latest discovery of a small number of Chilean needle grass plants is important and the ability for early intervention is critical, says Ecan’s principal biosecurity advisor Laurence Smith.

Chilean needle grass (nassella neesiana) infests approximately 280 hectares of land in North Canterbury and the new find brings the total number of properties hosting the weed to 10.

However, Mr Smith says that the on-going awareness campaign has created a good response from the public.

“With more than a dozen potential sightings, the new find highlights the importance of Environment Canterbury’s surveillance programme. Nine of Canterbury’s 10 known needlegrass sites have been found by our biosecurity staff.’’

Since the discovery, all plants have been controlled at the site and a further search has been carried out in the vicinity, with no other sites found.

Ecan and the Chilean Needle Grass Action Group are encouraging anyone concerned about the grass and who wants to be involved in decisions on management of the pest to attend a public meeting at the Cheviot Trust Hotel on Monday, February 18.

The pupose of the evening will be to elect a Chilean needle grass pest management liaison committee, which will liaise between the community and Ecan on management issues.

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