The last pest control run was undertaken before the Christmas holidays. A large number of pests have been killed over the past six months including Wild Cats, Stoats, Weasels, Hedgehogs, and rats. Thanks to Grandy Lake Forest, a new gate was opened which allowed contractors to access the different sites more efficiently, therefore reducing the costs associated with pest control. One hundred and twenty five traps are currently operating over four properties with the intent to reduce pests along the Whangawehi Stream. Thank you to all the landowners for maintaining the traps and reporting back those results to the Project Co-ordinator.
The Whangawehi Catchment Management group was privileged to have the visit of Nuhaka school students today in what could be shaping up to be a new partnership between the two groups.
Oha Manuel, community engagement officer and Nic Caviale, project co-ordinator walked the students to Mamangu for a site visit. The children undertook water testing on the Whangawehi River, laid out traps for pest control measures and staked the newly planted native trees.
On returning, the group stopped next to a midden (an old Maori shellfish pit) and discussed how local Tipuna lived off the land and the sea.
The final highlight for the day was visiting the blue penguin box site where the group is actively trying to attract back this bird.
Thank you to Shane Mildenhall for allowing access to the site and to the students for their help and enthusiasm.
The Whangawehi Catchment Management Group is actively looking at increasing the scope of its pest control programme. With assistance from the Hawkes Bay Regional Council the WCMG has been selected as a pilot project to trial 25 new state of the art traps.
These pest control traps are designed to send a signal to a hub located on a high point in the catchment every time a pest is caught. This data is then sent to the landowners via an application on their mobile phones which alerts them to when and where the traps have been triggered.
This technology could potentially change the face of pest control in the future by significantly reducing maintenance costs, especially in very difficult and rugged terrain. Contractors would only need to be sent in on targeted trap lines when a set percentage of traps have been set off. This differs from the traditional maintenance techniques which consist of checking and maintaining the traps on a monthly basis, whether the traps have been sprung or not.
This new wireless leading edge technology added to the new long lasting baits/lures (which last up to twelve months) makes this trial relevant to our steep and remote Mahia hill country. If successful these traps will play a key role in pest control challenges ahead. Over the past two years the group has established 70,000 trees and noticed a steep increase in birdlife. This pest control programme would play an instrumental role in protecting the ever increasing wildlife that is coming back to the area at a significantly lower cost.
The WCMG want to thank Grandy Lake Forest and Taharoa Trust for their co-operaton in trialling these new technology traps and HBRC for allowing us to be part of the trial.
Yesterday, Graham Douglas Forest Manager for Grandy Lake Forest set up DOC 200 traps along the Whangawehi river and chew cards in order to target pest control effort. Graham set up a project on trap.org.nz and will be reporting to the committee on a monthly basis. Traps will be monitored every 2 weeks in the summer and monthly in the winter. Thank you for this collaboration.
Pat and Sue O’Brien in partnership with Grandy Lake Forest have retired 10 ha of riparian margins along the Whangawehi stream. A total of 30000 native trees will be planted at completion of the restoration initiative. Both landowners are thrilled to see the bird life coming back to the site. A small scale predator control plan was put in place on the Taharoa Trust just before Christmas with technical support from HBRC. 10 DOC 200 and 6 Timm traps have been donated by HBRC to the group in order to support landowner’s aspirations. These traps target Mustellids, possums and rats. When successful, this community based pest control programme will expand on the other side of the river on Grandy Lake Forest in order to completely protect 1.5 km of retired habitat and create the beginning of a buffer.
In the meantime, landowners and the Whangawehi Community have to demonstrate their ability to maintain and service the traps while reporting on a monthly basis to the group.Trap maintenance will be done by the landowners and volunteers fortnighly from October to April and monthly from May to September. Traps are located along high traffic tracks for easy and regular maintenance. Reporting is currently done via an online application trap.org.nz. Each landowner is able to login and report via a very user friendly interface. Unfortunatelythe traps haven’t caught anything so far. We will keep you posted!