News Update Oct 2010
Annual General Meeting 2010
After the first year of field operations, WELRA contractors have carried out over 1400 hectares of either felling or spraying wilding control operations.
In association with this effort, both DOC and ECAN have contributed to the efforts by undertaking similar operations in the area.
The highest priority seed-launching sites have been targeted in an attempt to reduce and slow-down the spread of seeds onto new or land already cleared of wildings.
In conjunction with this commercial control effort there has been the excellent work done by the various volunteer groups to clear the outlying and lightly infested areas of wildings.
Along with the field operations there has been an underlying administrative cadre that have continually kept the wheels turning – paying accounts, keeping records, organising volunteer groups, developing further funding submissions and monitoring overall progress.
During this period WELRA was granted charitable status which helps both with taxation exemptions and funding applications.
Work has commenced on the Broad Stream unique grasshopper habitat as well.
FLOCKHILL & SURROUNDING AREAS
The donation and grant funds allocated to this region have been used to hire contractors to either fell or spray the high priority seed-source launching sites located in this area.
For the $40,000 (incl GST) Canterbury Community Trust donation, we covered about 222 hectares at an approximate cost of $180 per hectare.
For the $96,000 (excl GST) Lottery Grant Board grant, we covered about 1265 hectares at an approximate cost of $76 per hectare.
Both of these areas had supplementary funding from ECAN. Also for some of the areas helicopters were used to skid-hop contractors around the higher, steeper locations which increased the overall area able to be covered.
The DOC wilding control programme in the Waimakariri basin covered over 4,000 hectares at an average cost of about $23 per hectare.
The costs for clearing the really dense vegetation areas with contract hand tools shot up dramatically to around $7,500 per hectare!
BROAD STREAM GRASSHOPPER HABITAT
A report for the management of this project was produced. Inspections of the area were carried out in an attempt to determine the best way to proceed with controlling the seed-source infestation into the affected site.
Unfortunately this will mean the removal of the mature Douglas fir and other seed-spread species located in an arboretum west of the site.
Some work has been done on stem-boring poison trials to see if the mature trees situated amongst the native beech trees can be killed while standing rather than being felled and damaging the surrounding beech trees.
Poison trials are continuing to find a suitable poison brew and regime that can successfully kills the standing Douglas fir trees.
LINZ have donated over $7,000 towards the project which will be of great assistance in helping to remove wildings from this area.
Volunteer groups such as tramping club members, conservation volunteers, Forest & Bird, Ecoquest, church groups, school groups and individuals continue to make inroads into the outlying lighter density areas of the infected area.
Non-powered hand tools such as loppers, jacksaws, pruning saws and axes are the weapons of choice for these groups.
Funding for the new season is actively being sought. Some applications have not succeeded for various reasons so other potential sources of funds have been pursued as well.
Executive meetings this year have been infrequent. Some have been carried out through the email system as a means of expediting a particular issue at short notice without the need to have a full face-to-face meeting.
I would like to pass our appreciation on to:-
- NZ LOTTERIES GRANTS BOARD
- CANTERBURY COMMUNITY TRUST
- WORLD WILDLIFE FUND
- LAND INFORMATION NEW ZEALAND
for their generous financial support in helping the Alliance to achieve its goal of controlling and eventually eliminating wilding pines from the upper Waimakariri basin.
I would also like to acknowledge the valuable contribution the ECAN staff have rendered towards the smooth-running of the many logistical and administrative tasks required to achieve effective outcomes for the Alliance.
Our thanks to DOC and ECAN for their good work in supervising the contractors to achieve the optimum “value” for the available funds.
I wish to pass on our appreciation to DOC and Flock Hill Station for their contributions towards advancing the efforts for the eradication of the wildings.
I also acknowledge the valuable and effective practical eradication work undertaken by the many volunteers who work long, hard hours using a variety of methods to clear the land of the wilding trees. The visual effect from SH 73 between the cleared and uncleared areas is very impressive.
Finally – I would like to give special thanks to the members of the Executive for their support and constructive input during the deliberations over the various issues we have been dealing with to achieve our aims and objectives.
Ray Goldring NZSSM