The TBfree programme, managed by OSPRI, has completed extensive testing of the Blackball Township water supply. This follows the aerial application of 1080 bait for possum control over much of the water supply catchment last October.
TBfree Northern South Island Programme Manager Matt Hickson said that to alleviate concerns raised by the Blackball Residents Association Trust, management of the township’s water supply was discussed with the Grey District Council. As a result of these discussions a robust, independent water testing and management schedule was implemented.
“Thousands of water testing results from similar operations in the past have shown no evidence of any contamination of drinking water supplies.”
Mr Hickson said possum control operations play an important role in preventing the spread of bovine TB from possums to farmed cattle and deer herds. In TB risk areas, possums are the source of around 70 per cent of new herd infections.
Ground-based control, supported by aerial operations, protects the $850 million contribution pastoral production makes to the West Coast economy each year. This work also benefits the region’s native birds and forests, which are extremely vulnerable to introduced predators, such as possums, stoats and rats.