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Safe Spraying Programmes

Safe Spraying Programmes

Updated 25 November 2019 10:43am

Sometimes spraying is the most effective and efficient way to control invasive weeds like gorse, blackberry, lupin, thistles and blackberry.

We have invested a lot of time into refining our protocols and procedures to make sure spraying is done safely and carried out in the best interest of the community and the environment. When deciding on a ground or aerial spraying programme we carefully consider:

  • What invasive weeds we are wanting to control
  • Where they are, is the cost of control
  • How close the weeds are to water, native plants or forest, agricultural land and houses.

About aerial spraying

Aerial spraying is a way to tackle invasive weeds when it’s not possible to control them from the ground with people, tractors or machinery.

Today’s technology enables us to do aerial spraying safely and effectively.

Watch our video series below which explains all you need to know about aerial spraying, including how and why we do it.

Aerial Spraying Factsheet

Why do we use aerial spraying?

Learn why Aerial spraying is an important tool when it comes to protecting the native plants and animals living in our regional parks from invasive weeds by watching this clip. 

It explains how our region has a variety of landscapes and weed infestations which means many of the weeds are in areas that are really difficult to get to.  We can encounter up to 40 hectares of tall weeds such as Gorse and Lupin that have been there a long time and need to be controlled.

How does aerial spraying work?

Learn how helicopters use GPS and special lights to guide and ensure they are spraying inside a specific operational area.  When people spray at home the formula comes out as a fine mist which is appropriate. This clip shows how aerial spraying nozzles and the formulation mix produces heavy droplets of spray that minimse the risk of the mist blowing outside the operational area. It also explains why fine and calm weather is crucial and that our GWRC staff are hugely experienced in providing advice on our spraying operations

Hear about the risk assessments carried out on every spraying job, how crew on the ground are continually assessing the weather conditions and reducing any risk to the public.

How do we prepare for a spraying event?

Find out what factors we consider when deciding whether or not to spray an area and what steps we take if we do decide to spray.  

We prefer to opt for non-spraying options such as stock grazing, planting or mulching if possible. However if we can’t control the weeds via those means and aerial spraying is going to be the most effective way to deal with the weeds, it becomes quite an involved process. We do a lot of planning, identify sensitive areas and put out public notifications. We may even have to get resource consent.

Hear how spraying is overseen by a registered chemical applicator, helicopter pilots must be qualified and how job and site safety plans are carried out to manage risks.

You’ll also learn about how we notify everyone within a 300metre radius of the operation area and how we communicate to the public after spraying has occurred.

Is aerial spraying safe for the environment?

This video also outlines the collection of laws and rules we adhere to when spraying. There are different layers of rules and GWRC even has our own rules and plans that our licensees must adhere to when spraying on our regional parks. 

You’ll also find out how we ensure the operations are safe, through identifying risks and ways to mitigate them – through application methods, information and managing the operation itself.