Ducks Unlimited
Thursday, 04 April 2019 10:00

Wairio work

Written by Jim Law.
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Volunteers: Members of the planting team including Taratahi equine students. Volunteers: Members of the planting team including Taratahi equine students. Jim Law.

Tree protection trial
The accompanying photos show Cabbage and Totora trees planted in Grotectors (tree protectors) at Stage 2 in the Wairio Wetland. 

They were designed by Don Bell, a DU member who has been involved with the Wairio Restoration Project since its inception. These protectors are being monitored as part of the various plant survival studies being conducted by Victoria University students. It is also hoped to get students from a local secondary school involved in the monitoring process.

As the photos indicate, the plants protected seem to be doing well versus their unprotected neighbours that were similarly planted on spot sprayed sites. In addition to enhancing growth rates, the sheer visibility of the Grotector enables easy follow-up release spraying.

Based on the good results from 2013 the restoration committee decided to use these protectors for the larger plant species this year, especially Kahikatea and Totora.

Rotary support at Wairio

The South Wairarapa Rotary Club (SWRC) recently made a $1600 grant towards the restoration of the Wairio Wetland. The SWRC has contributed $14,480 in total since 2007 – they have been great supporters of this project.

It is one of the long-term environmental projects they support in the South Wairarapa. 

In addition to the cash contribution that goes towards the cost of plants (sedges, flaxes and specimen trees, the likes of Totora and Kahikatea) being used in the restoration of the Wetland Rotary members assist in the planting days. It is one way Rotary both contributes to, and participates in community activities. DU certainly appreciate the contributions.

Wet day planting at Wairio Wetland

A team of environmental enthusiasts turned up in late April for this year’s first planting at the Wairio Wetland. It was a wet day, great for the plants and not too bad for the enthusiasts but coats were definitely required! 

Planters included a great team of young women from Taratahi’s equine school who worked tirelessly in the rain. There were the usual Ducks Unlimited stalwarts and representatives from Greater Wellington Regional Council and Doc. Unfortunately, attendance by teams of students from the local primary schools had to be cancelled because of the wet weather. A GWRC team also put on a BBQ that was most popular once the allotted 650 plants were in the ground.

The planting was in a newly fenced off area of Stage 4 along the south eastern fringe of the wetland improved by the construction of a bund wall during 2013. This area has become very popular with local waterfowl with hundreds of ducks, swans and native waders taking flight when the planters arrived. In the years to come waterfowl will be able to fly into a much enhanced wetland as a result of the good work by the planters.

The next planting was July 4. Hope they had a great day.

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