PREDATOR FREE HALFMOON BAY PROJECT Technical Aspects of the Project — Preliminary Outline Phil Bell Department of Conservation; for the Predator Free Rakiura Governance Group) March 202014 Introduction ‘The Predator Free Halfmoon Bay Project seeks to eradicate rats, possums, feral cats, and hedgehogs from an approx. 4800ha area encompassing the Halfmoon Bay/Oban township. Itis proposed that this area is delineated by a predator proof fencetthat stretches from North Arm to Maori Beach This project is the starting point to creating predator free Rakiura The full island eradication requires significant research and development in new technologies before it can proceed. The Halfmoon Bay project would be undertaken using current tools and techniques, so that the environmental (and subsequent economic and social) benefits can be experienced by the island community within the immediate futur. ‘The intention of this paper is to providea starting point for the conversation on howra predator- free Halfmoon Bay could be created This paper summarises the technical options available to eradicate predators from the Halfmoon Bay area, but needs social dimension to evaluate preferred approach It is important to note that multi-species eradications usually require a combination of techniques to achieve success. As such, itis likely that the final methodology for this project ‘would need to be some form of combination of the tools and techniques outlined below. The Decision Makers Nodecision has been made on the method to be used to remove any of these predators from Halfmoon Bay. A Governance Group, comprising representatives of the community, has been established to oversee the Predator free Rakiura project. This Group will be the decision makers for this project. It is expected that the Rakiura community be given the opportunity to discuss and debate the various options (and seek further advice), before the Governance Group make the decision on which method(s) to pursue. If this project is agreed in principle by the community, detailed papers covering the biosecurity system required to maintain predator free status, and covering the eradication methodology will be developed (based on feedback and expert advice) over the next 46 months, Principles of Eradication Eradication differs from control in one fundamental way -the purpose is to remove every individual of the target species’ population(s). Eradication is the most appropriate strategic option for predator management when the following 5 principles can be met. These principles are 1, Reinvasion can be managed (to zero population establishment) Every individual predatoris killed The target species are killed faster than they can breed The project is acceptable to people The benefits are greater than the costs RoE Keeping Halfmoon Bay Predator-Free Removing all the predators to create a predator free Halfmoon Bay is only half of the job. The equally critical component is keeping the predators out of Halfmoon Bay. Biosecurity would be required forever -the island will always be at risk of invasion. Even with a predator ree Rakiura, biosecurity would be needed to protect the island from invasion from the mainland of New Zealand, Biosecurity has three elements prevention; surveillance; and response. The ideal biosecurity system has a balanced investment in each of those elements, This balance would need to be found for the Halfmoon Bay situation, Biosecurity for predatorfree islands is not new. There is a wealth of experience available throughout the country to build on for the Rakiura situation. Rangitoto/Motutapu Islands in the Hauraki Gulfare exposed to approx 1 million boat movements and visited by approx. 150,000 people every year (with minimal obvious biosecurity interventions), and thus far the incursions have all been dealt with promptly and avoided predator population establishment. Biosecurity on this seale is doable; however it does require careful planning and strict implementation. The development of a biosecurity plan and the implementation of a biosecurity system will need tobe its own stream of major work. This biosecurity plan will need to identify all the pathways of invasion, the ideal suite of prevention actions needed, the necessary detection devices and surveillance systems, and the response capability and protocols needed, This plan would need to be implemented before the eradication begins. Summary of Technical Options Available for Eradication This could inchide kill traps (which kill the animal once the trap is triggered) legrhold traps (which hold the animal by its leg until it s killed by the trappe1); and/orcage trapping (which catch the animal alive in a small cage). Live capture traps (leg hold or cage traps) must be checked every day by law, while kill traps require less frequent servicing. Toxic bait is placed in a bait station or bait bag that is located where the target species can access it. Bait stations or bait bags are usually set up along marked tracks in a grid pattern. Toxic baits (brodifacoum or sodium fluoroacetate (1080) are sown into the operational area by hand, thrown from designated GPS points. Toxic baits (brodifacoum or sodium fluoroacetate (1080)) are sown into the operational area by aircraft, usually a helicopter with an underslung bucket guided by a GPS navigational system, Please note that this method will nat be used over the houses within the Halfmoon Bay area. ‘Assummary of the pros and cons of each technical optionis in Appendix One, Eradication Design and Planning Using any of the above options as the only tool is unlikely to result in eradication of these predators. As such, itis likely that combinations of these tools would be required to achieve a predatorfree Halfmoon Bay. Once direction is given by the Governance Board, an operational plan would need to be developed to detail the specifics of the methodology to be used during the eradication operation. This is especially important for projects such as this where a multitude of techniques are likely to be utilised. The Deer Populations The deer populations are not a target for eradication in this project. A stream of work investigating the options available to reduce the impact of the eradication actions on the deer populations will be required. Project Timing Below is an indication of the timeline for the predator-free Halfmoon Bay project. Year (Operational planning Fence design and construction. Eradication phase ‘Monitoring phase