Yesterday Arthur Bowen performed his standard water monitoring run as part of our monthly water monitoring programme. Due to the rain we have had lately – algae- which had built up over the warmer summer months in the stream, has been flushed out. As a result, the stream looks quite healthy and clean. We observed an abundance of 10 cm elvers in the headwaters (mainly in the forest) as well as some Inanga in the Aramatua stream…all very encouraging news for our water quality data.
Today we were grateful to have the expertise of Rod Dickson (biodiversity officer from HBRC) and Hans Rook who both came to support the pest control work been undertaken on Pongaroa Station. Pongaroa Station has decided to accelerate and expand its pest control programme since Kaka have been observed on the station. The farm already manages 10 traps along the river but with the spotting of several Kaka Rod Dickson has generously offered 10 more traps. Valuable advice was shared on how to maintain the traps and we are hoping that Kaka will permanently settle in the valley with reduced predator numbers. The trap catches will be collected by the farm and inputted into Trap.org, a national pest control platform.
Thank you Rod and Hans for sharing your expertise and keeping the momentum going.
A quality control check of plantings on Okepuha station has been undertaken. After a wet winter and a reasonably wet summer our native trees on Okepuha station have stood up in pretty good shape. Survival rate is estimated to be around 90% which is an excellent result. Even the fence lines have held up over the wet winter and the station is looking great with the addition of the plantings. Richard and Hannah are enjoying their new environment and are keen to undertake further environmental work.
A little blue penguin colony has inhabited one of the penguin boxes built by Te Mahia school students on Waikawa (Portland Island). Local Department of Conservation ranger Helen Jonas took 5 of the surplus nesting boxes built by the students and installed them on the island. Due to their small size the Little blue penguin species are vulnerable to predation and respond well to off shore islands like Waikawa where they are predator free.
This is an exciting development for the The Whangawehi Catchment Management Group. The group are hopeful that the increase in colony numbers on the island will one day help colonise the 50 nesting boxes built and installed by students along the Whangawehi valley. The vision of bringing back species such as the Little Blue Penguin was started by local kuia and koumatua. Kathleen Mato remembers flourishing blue penguin colonies along the Whangawehi valley in the 1970’s and wants them to return to their formal glory again.
The Whangawehi Catchment Management group have been busy over the summer period showcasing the work they have been doing to the rest of the community. The group displayed a promotional tent at the Wairoa A & P show and one of the initial summer Mahia markets.
Due to poor weather conditions two out of the four guided walks through the catchment area had to be cancelled. The other two walks both had low attendance. Their is a necessity to review our summer walking programme. Efforts will now focus on working with the New Zealand Access Commission to push for a permanent walkway through the catchment area and to finish off completion work on the shelter.
We are delighted to announce that Pongaroa Station have signed the conservation management agreement. This covenant agreement is an important way of protecting funder investment for a 25 year period. Pongaroa Station are the third landowners to sign the agreement and significant in terms of their land size. Pongaroa station have signalled their commitment to more conservation work by involving the QE2 Trust. The station is currently investigating retiring and fencing off 40 hectares of native bush blocks around the farm with the assistance of QE2. Watch the space over the next few years…
The Whangawehi Catchment Management group have been confirmed a finalist in the Mitre 10 New Zealander of the year awards. Three members of the group will be travelling up to Auckland on February 22nd to represent the group in the ‘New Zealand Community of the year’ category. The two other finalists competing in this category are; Canterbury Charity Hospital Trust and ‘Pillars’ based in Auckland. The winners of each category will be announced this evening and the group are eager to take away top honours in this section for all the hard work put in over the years. This award ceremony honours inspiration kiwis who have performed with distinction in their respective communities.
The Whangawehi Catchment Management Group has been monitoring water quality in the catchment for the last 5 years. 7 sites are monitored every second months including a site at the lower end (Mamangu) which monitored every month. This site is used as our indicator of what’s happening in the entire catchment. What we have observed is a significant improvement of faecal contamination since the restoration project started. This site has been below recreational guidelines for many years. However faecal contamination is still occurring in some tributaries mainly due to a high number of geese.
Water monitoring data sheet for Mamangu in December : December 2017-Mamanguonly
On the 12 of December, Malcolm Rutherford from QE2 Trust came to Mahia to assess Pongaroa Station’s bush blocks. Bevan, Farm Manager, is interested in fencing off all significant bush blocks on the farm. In total 40 ha could be retired in covenanted in the next few years. It is encouraging to see the work done along the river extended in the tributaries and subcatchments.
The data from the last water monitoring run, done in early December, is now available.
E Coli levels are below guidelines at the bottom end of the catchment but still high in certain tributaries. With water temperatures rising, algae grow is also taking place.