The Marlborough Significant Natural Areas Project involves Marlborough District Council collecting information about natural areas on private land, with the aim of working in partnership with landowners to help protect these areas.
It is driven by the requirements of Section 6(c) of the Resource Management Act 1991, which states that the protection of significant indigenous vegetation and significant habitats of indigenous fauna be recognised and provided for as a matter of national importance.
The project has been underway since 2000. It involves three main types of work:
- Carrying out an ecological survey of areas on private properties to identify the sites and issues. This work was carried out from 2000 to 2009, with the South Marlborough area covered first until 2004, followed by the North Marlborough area from 2004 to 2009. Occasional surveys are still carried out if landowners request them. Over 282 landowners participated, and so far 705 sites have been identified.
- An assistance programme to encourage and help landowners to protect these identified sites was established in 2003 and since this time more than 80 significant natural areas have been protected.
- Sites that have been protected are revisited every two to three years to check that management objectives are being met.
For an overview of the significant natural areas project, see below.
This work was carried out for Council by a contract team including Paul Millen (landowner communication), Geoff Walls and Philip Simpson (contract ecologists).
Council has established this programme to provide encouragement and practical help to landowners interested in protecting significant natural areas on their properties.
A monitoring programme has been set up so that the ongoing condition of the 80 sites identified and protected through the Significant Natural Areas programme is assessed regularly.