Mohua (Yellowhead) Project
The Central Otago-Lakes branch of the Forest & bird was looking for a hands on project that would involve it’s members and be a catalyst for new members. Which made a positive step to helping the environment where the people involved could see the results of their efforts.
The branch made an attempt several years ago at protecting the Mohua (yellow heads) on the Hasst road. The records are vague but it did succeed in allowing 6 pairs to raise young by trapping at the trees that were being used as nesting sights.
After hearing the population on the Hasst road was still in existence we made inquires to DoC to find out the Mohua recovery plan had the Makarora population as a priority 3. DoC were intending to apply for funding to have on site management and monitoring next year.
The branch then decided to proceed and take up the project working in conjunction with DoC . At that time DoC received a report on stoat control trails which said there is a small but important population of Mohua around the Blue Pools area of Makarora and it would be of value for there continuing viability if stoat control could be carried out in this area. The project has then had to proceed with some urgency to try and get started at the beginning of this breeding season.
The Otago Regional Council have been very helpful and hired out the necessary traps, which has enabled us to get started straight at a very reasonable rate provided they don’t have any predator survey work coming up till November.
It must be stressed that there is an on going importance of this project and that it is not a hit and miss. Peter Dilks has pointed out to DoC that you need a programme that is going to continue long term , preferably permanently, to have any real benefits for the Mohua bird population. DoC have recognised the importance of this project and are trying to maintain impetus by including this in next years budget .We will be supporting DoC and work with them if necessary to keep the long term viability of the population of Mohua at Makarora alive.
The branch also see this population very valuable as it is on a major tourist highway at a stopping which is regularly visited by the public and is only 5 minutes from the car park. So not only can the public visit the blue pools there this the opportunity to here the Mohua singing in the tree tops.
Lindis Pass Project
The Lindis Pass Group was formed in 2004 in response to a suggestion by the Department of Conservation’s Community Relations officer based in Twizel. The group was begun to help with practical work in the reserve at the summit of the Lindis Pass; the reserve is expanding as the tenure review process returns more land to the Crown along the crest of the range between the Lindis Pass and the Ahuriri Valley, and in future there should be walking access along the range northwards.
Most of the group’s working time has been spent on weed control, particularly of Sweet Briar, which is cut and poisoned with Vigilant; and the difference is becoming obvious as briar steadily disappears from the reserve, compared with the bordering areas. This work will need to continue indefinitely, as Sweet Briar persists in the surrounding country, and is readily spread by birds. In 2005 the group collected seed from the indigenous Chionocloa rigida (Snow tussock), which is being propagated at the Department of Conservation’s Motukarara nursery, and it is hoped that the resulting plants will be planted in the reserve during the spring of 2006.
The plan is to restore the degraded area along a stretch of the old coaching road at the top of the Pass, which was accessible to off-road vehicles until Transit New Zealand recently altered the roadside and moved the deer release memorial from the top of the State Highway to the parking area on the eastern side of the road.
Another plan for the reserve is to form short a walkway (allowing a 30 to 40-minute walk) from the parking area near the summit of the Pass. The walkway will cross the ridge to the west and complete a circuit over to the eastern side and back to the summit. This will be planned by the Department of Conservation, and should include information boards and seating at the best viewpoints.
The group is in the process of forming an Incorporated Society so that funding can be applied for and received for the work; and a Memorandum of Understanding has been drafted, which will be signed by the Department of Conservation and the group.
New members are always welcome to join the group, and to support its work. There are 5 or 6 work-days planned for each summer, and these are often combined with walks to explore various sections of the reserve.
Millennium Track Project
A proposal by Central Otago-Lakes Branch of the Forest & Bird Society to initiate a long term replanting project of the Waterfall Creek – Millennium Track, with native trees and shrubs of the Wanaka region.
The Millennium Track has been a highly successful upgrade by the Otago Regional Council of an existing walking track leading west from Waterfall Creek, along the shore and cliff top of Lake Wanaka. The track is now very popular with visitors, tourists and locals alike. Any given weekend will see many local identities out enjoying the lakeside splendor.
Approximately 1.5 kilometres of the track is now protected from all stock by an extensive deer fence, presenting a wonderful opportunity to enhance the area by judicious replanting with some of the original lakeside forest and scrub species.
The existing vegetation along the foreshore, slopes and cliffs of the Millennium Track is a mosaic of savanah-like rank grass with patches of briar rose, alternating with tongues of regenerating kanuka and occassional native shrubs kohuhu Pittosporum tenuifolium, Coprosma propinqua and some other divaricating species.
There also occur very ocassional forest species largely restricted to the steepest cliffs and close to the lake edge( a very small number of totara, lemonwood Pittosporum eugenioides and kowhai. These species give us some idea of what vegetation was here before the arrival of milling, fires and stock grazing.
Probably consisted of:
•Lake side littoral, hebe spp, kowhai, divaricating Coprosma species.
•Forest – totara, broadleaf (Griselinia littoralis)
•Possibly Olearia hectori and Olearia odorata
Potential for Future Revegetation
Natural regeneration of this area will be extremely slow due to the domination by rank grass and the lack of seed sources for most native species. Regeneration of the area can be exponentially hastened by a careful revegetation programme, consisting of phases spread over a number of years and largely using community volunteer effort, similar to the excellent progress in revegetating Ruby Island.
•Formulation of a revegetation plan
•Initial planting this season (Spring 2004) of kohuhu and kanuka on the initial plateau approximately 400 metres after the start of the track
•Some low Hebe shrubs close to the track, around the rocky knowl and near seats
•Eradication of approximately 3 wilding pines established on the lakeside cliff.
•Briar rose left largely as is but prevented from spreading.
•Extend plantings of kohuhu and kanuka but also Coprosma propinqua.
•Plantings of totara in selected areas to create small groves
•Plantings of Hebe, Cassinia and other fragrant and appealing shrub species around cliff edges, track bank- faces, beside seats and near vantage points.
•Continue plantings as in 2 & 3 in further areas
•Also create groves of endangered and threatened local species such as Olearia hectori.
•Initail plantings this spring 2004
•Cuttings taken this summer for further propgation
Initial organisation will be conducted by the Central Otago-Lakes Branch of the Forest and Bird Society. All interested parties are welcome to participate. Sponsorship will be encouraged. Some budget allocation for the purchase of trees will be sought from QLDC