Ornamental pond survey in Maungatapu and Omokoroa searching for aquatic pests

As part of the Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s role to actively search for new pests in the region, over 770 properties were checked in Maungatapu and Omokoroa earlier this year, looking for aquatic pests. To do this, contractors go door-to-door on private land looking for ornamental ponds and water features, for example fountains, that may contain aquatic pest fish or plants.

Pond surveillance is carried out every year in different parts of the region and always in summer when the plants are flowering and the fish are more likely to be visible, sunning themselves on the surface of the water. This is an important measure to prevent the spread and introduction of freshwater pests such as water poppy and salvinia into our local waterways.

“Freshwater pests, like salvinia can quickly form extensive mats, completely smothering waterways and badly affecting water quality,” says Shane Grayling, Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s Biosecurity Manager. “It can double in area within 10 days, killing off native plants, attracting breeding mosquitoes, blocking dams and irrigation systems and creating a drowning risk for people and animals.”

Across Omokoroa and Maungatapu, over 60 ponds were checked. Most water features and ponds contained plants and fish of no concern with water lillies and goldfish being the most common.

People often have no idea they have pests in their ponds or water features until it gets checked. Pests that seem safely contained in a pond can be easily spread elsewhere by birds, pond overflows and machinery that gets shared with friends and neighbours.

If you have a pond or water feature at home, call 0800 STOP PESTS (0800 786 773) to ask for help identifying any pests.