Wednesday, February 14, 2018

2017 was a big year for Mangaiti Gully Restoration Trust

A summary of the major work done in 2017 has been documented below. All the labour for these projects was done by our regular volunteers without which these projects would not have happened.

Funding support was for materials only which our Trust was very grateful to receive.

In 2017 over 2000 plants were put into the ground

This was a big season for our Trust. The usual number of plants to go in each year tends to average around 1000. The Eastern Track area was the target planting area for 2017 and was completed. The reason for the higher number was that we had prepared Michaels area in the south expecting to plant in 2018 but due to Hamilton City Council having a planting allocation for Mangaiti Park that was not ready for planting, the plants were diverted to our prepared area. This worked in very well even though it put a bit of pressure on the volunteers.

For the second year we had Rototuna Primary School doing a planting of over 100 plants.

In 2017 we had great success in Rat eradication

North east suburb of Hamilton. Gordonton Road is the right hand boundary. 

One of the highlights of 2017 is the clearance of rats from a 20 hectare section of a 30 hectare gully system. To understand the significance of this you need to understand that half of that gully has no tracks, is extremely boggy and the only access is via the residential properties that border the gully (and that it was full of rats). It has been the support of the community that enabled this to happen. Sixty bait stations using bromadiolone (Contra) bait blocks (only a fifth the strength of brodifacoum) serviced by 16 community service agents that have been trained in Health and safety to handle the baits, service the station and record the results. A young tui was spotted in this area for the first time this season and an increase in weta numbers has been observed which, in all, indicates a recovery in the native biodiversity. A very successful urban programme achieved at a cost of less than $1000.

What is disappointing is the lack of interest and financial support for this project from the Hamilton institutions that supposedly are guardians of our environment.

In 2017 hundreds of Willows were drilled and poisoned

The giant willow aphid blew across from Australia and moved into the Waikato a couple of years ago putting pressure on us to get rid of the willows in the gully. The Aphis produce a dew that lands on the understorey plants creating a black sooty mould. This damages the understorey plants by reducing their ability to photosynthesise. It was always our intention to remove the willows but the aphids cause it to be moved up our “do list”. One of our volunteers purchased a good grunty drill for the job and has poisoned hundreds in the northern area of the gully. The last few that were missed are being poisoned at the moment to finish the job off.

In 2017 we built 266 metres of Tracks and board walks

 Part of our management plan is that, as we clear an area for planting, we put in tracks or board walks so that our volunteers have easy access to plant and maintain the areas. If the ground is firm enough we build tracks. If it is muddy then we go for board walks. Board walks are twice the price of tracks to build so a track is always our first option.  In 2017 two tracks and board walks were completed. One is the eastern (east side of the stream) ring track which is 186 metres long and the other going south below the pond is what we call Michaels track and is 80 metres.
Our trust had funding support of $2,800 from the Hamilton City Council Community Funding pool and $500 from Trust Waikato. The balance of $344 came out of Mangaiti’s Trust general funds account.