Wetland enhancement on Taharoa Trust

In July 2018, Taharoa Trust was granted support from the Wai Maori Trust to enhance the margins of the wetlands fenced off in the early 2000. A total of 40 ha of rare ecosystems are retired and are self reverting into native habitats. Some of these wetlands had issues with weeds (blackberry, gorse and pampas) and the goal of this project was to control them and establish back native plants over time. The spraying was delayed due to a wet spring which allowed us to establish 400 flaxes in a clean corner. We are now on track (see on the photos).  This year’s focus is on Sue’s wetland located at the back of Sue’s garden. Through the WCM work, we are trying to reconnect these wetlands with the surrounding bush blocks and ultimately with the main Whangawehi stream.  These habitats play a key role in filtering the water that flows from the farmland into the Whangawehi stream and at sea. They are also a nursery for a range of native species including fish, birds, insects etc. We will establish also a water cress patch on several farms to reconnect the people with traditional practises.

We will keep you posted on the progress made. We wish you all a Merry Christmas and happy new year. Kia hari kirihimete me te tau hou koa.

 

Catchment update

The monthly check at Whangawehi went well. Water levels are dropping in the main Whangawehi stream and tributaries. Water temperature is high especially in the lower reaches. Algae dominate some of our sites which happens every summer. Over time, the shading effect from the trees will allow the water to cool down and restrict algae growth.  Tree growth is phenomenal, Malcolm did a fantastic job at controlling blackberry so the place looks amazing.

Insect monitoring results

Back in early November 2018, Janice Edwards and Pat O’Brien laid out our insect traps. This monitoring is done every year as part of the WCMG monitoring programme. It is usually carried out about the same time but due to weather-sometimes the work is delayed. This year we have observed an increase in the number of families captured (7 families have been recorded this year) which is encouraging. The family which was most represented was the Dipterae (flies and mosquitos).

It is encouraging to see that the young forest growing along the river is now increasing the local biodiversity providing a food source for all sorts of creatures. A big thank you to Janice for her commitment, time and patience for a very laborious task of counting large numbers of very tiny bugs. The information provided is extremely valuable as it demonstrates the beneficial change generated by the project overtime.

Insect survey 2018

Insect monitoring programme

On Tuesday the 6th of November, Janice Edwards and Pat O’Brien headed out into the catchment to set up our yearly insect monitoring traps. The group monitors its insect population using a simple but effective protocol. This monitoring programme allows us to measure the impact of the restoration programme on our local insect biodiversity.  The traps are left out for a week. The insects collected over this period get trapped into an alcohol jar and are then identified by Janice.  She is then able to count the number of taxons present in the jar and compare with last years count. We are aiming for a higher number of taxons (families) which was the case last year.

A big thank you to Janice and Pat for making this important monitoring tool happen on a yearly basis.

Whangawehi celebrates the Pacific International River Awards

The Whangawehi community is celebrating this Award received in Sydney in October 2018. A big thank you to the whole team and the wider community. This award celebrates the commitment of a dedicated community that has delivered some key milestones over the past 4 years. Well done to you all. Pai the Mahi.

 

Catchment update

As you can see from the photo’s-all our trees have grown a lot over the winter period. They are flourishing and there is nothing stopping them now. Water is flowing very clear in the Whangawehi stream but algae are already starting to pop up at Mamangu which is a bit early.

A new tree species-the Poroporo-is now growing along the river which has been self-introduced by birds. Poroporo is a native tree already present in the DOC reserve. A small scrub-the Poroporo is traditionally a very valuable plant to Maori because of it’s itch relief properties. It’s a delightful looking plant that is known to grow extremely fast.

It is great to see that the cycle of nature is taking place and allowing the diversification of our local biodiversity.

 

Water monitoring on the Whangawehi

On the 6th April, Arthur Bowen carried out his bi-monthly water monitoring run throughout the catchment area.  Water levels had been running low throughout April so despite the creeks running clear, in sunny places algae growth was quite strong and not very appealing.  In the forest, we came across protected culverts and retaining structure (debris dams)-well done to Graham Douglas for all his hard work.

As we were driving past the White Pine Crossing, we saw a Kahikatea tree with berries on it so stopped to collect the seeds for Ngaire Pasma.  Ngaire grows trees as a hobby and is delighted to help the group grow Kahikatea plants.

As we were driving along the first planting on Taharoa, we stopped to appreciate the rapid growth of plants.  At the rapids, the algae growth was strong, water temperature was around 20 degrees and still warm.  We also checked for any signs of White Bait spawning  but didn’t see any activity.

 

Richard Coops is extending his network of traps

Rod Dickson from Hawkes Bay Regional Council recently visited Richard Coops on Okepuha Station.  A few years ago Richard started off with a few traps but is now extending his network of traps.  In the upcoming days, his traps will be GPSed and then loaded onto a cloud application “trap.nz”, a great reporting and collaborative platform.  This will enable Richard to record trap catches from his mobile phone via an app or from his computer.  These traps will be laid out around the newly restored/planted area where we hope to encourage more bird life to the area. Richard has already contacted to say that he needs more traps! Well done Richard.

The senior class at Te Mahia school hike up to the Whangawehi shelter for the first time.

With some careful planning & preparation, the senior class finally set off for there first visit to the Whangawehi shelter on the 28th February 2018.  Initially this visit was planned for November 2017 but had to be postponed as it was rained out.  The weather was perfect for an hour’s hike over O’Brien’s farm this time round, with two vehicles bringing up the rear, carrying SHMAKs and other resources. At the shelter we split into two groups. The boys headed down to the stream with Arthur and Jenni and two dads. Testing the stream was interesting, though few creatures were found – plenty of snails in the algae and a few worms were. 

The water was clear. Meanwhile the girls were investigating the difference in the 8 cultivars of harakeke growing around the shelter. The groups then exchanged places but this time the stream group went to a stonier site and found at least 15 inanga hungrily feeding on grasshoppers who had leapt to their death into the stream. More invertebrates were discovered there under the stones.

 The hike back was a challenge for some, but we all arrived back at school cheerful and with a great experience to share.  We look forward to the Rocky Shore field trip planned for March.