South Kaipara Landcare chalks up another busy year

by Helen Martin

Locals learning how to set a trap.

At the June AGM, South Kaipara Landcare chairperson Tracy Tristram reported on progress made in the past year and thanked everyone who contributed to the huge amount achieved over the past 12 months. Her summary of the year’s activities includes:
The Dune Lakes Project. Since SKL deer fenced an area along the Wilson Road track a few years back native plants have thrived. To combat the weeds the Auckland Council provided a weed-elimination contractor and a community working bee made good headway in its attack on the woolly nightshade in the centre of the fenced area. Weed control of the area is an ongoing project.
Roadside weeding. On two roadside weeding days a team of volunteers systematically targeted woolly nightshade along South Head Road. For those wanting to tackle weeds on their own properties, SKL has been supplying Vigilant paste, which is very effective on woody weeds like woolly nightshade.
Roadside clean-up day. In the interests of recycling as much of the rubbish collected on clean-up day as possible, 3 x 20litre drums of waste material were sent to the recycling centre. This was just a small proportion of the total rubbish collected, but it was a successful trial run and a good learning exercise for next year’s clean-up. As always, the roadside clean-up was a great chance to catch up with neighbours and locals and to meet people new to the area.
Lake Rototoa water quality working group. SKL joined a working group, led by Auckland Council, looking into the declining water quality at Lake Rototoa. Recent monitoring has revealed that water clarity and the aquatic plant health is declining. Other dune lakes in Auckland are suffering similar issues. These lakes all contain aquatic fish and plant pests and it is thought these pests are a main contributing factor to this decline. Auckland Council is funding a programme to look at ways of managing the pests, with Lake Rototoa and Tomarata as trial sites.
Lake Rototoa pest control. SKL teamed up with The Forest Bridge Trust to run an extra three trap lines through the reserve. One of the beneficiaries is the Australasian Bittern, or Matuku. The talk by Dr Emma Williams (DoC) about these amazing birds at last year’s AGM inspired extra projects, for example the installation of road signs along South Head Road asking motorists to slow down at points where Bittern are known to hang out near the road. The signs will be going up soon. In another bittern initiative, Auckland Council, with help from Emma placed monitoring stations at wetland areas throughout South Head and Helensville. SKL hope to learn more about these cryptic birds from this project.
South Head Flora and Fauna Guide. This booklet highlights the wide range of rare, endangered and important plant and animal species found in South Head. It was produced with the support of Auckland Council, with input from members of the local community, including a number of photos taken by locals. Copies are available free of charge to South Head residents.
Wasp control. In a new SKL initiative, Bill Griffiths is now a certified vespex user and has been helping people to eradicate wasps around Wilsons Road. The group is interested in hearing from other certified vespex users in the area.
Other events in the past year included a stall at the local A&P Show and participation in the annual dabchick and wetland survey organised by Birds NZ.
Nursery. The nursery, which is SKL’s main source of income, continues to do well under the care of the Elon Bycroft and volunteers.
Te Rau Puriri park. Ranger Phil Evans and his team are great supporters of SKL, which was able to return the favour this year with a planting day at the park.
Tracy thanked Auckland Council and DoC for ongoing support, Burmester Real Estate for printing the flyers and the rural delivery team for delivering them free of charge, Placemakers, for their ongoing support for small projects, the committee and “the awesome South Head community”.

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