Ecologists from around New Zealand visited the Wairio wetlands on 29 November with DU President Ross Cottle and Stephen Hartley, of Victoria University, as their tour guides.
The trip was part of the New Zealand Ecological Society’s annual conference in Wellington, and also included a visit to Pounui Lagoon and Onoke Spit, where Denise and Dougal Mackenzie were the guides.
Student Patrick Hipgrave and Dr Stephanie Tomscha spoke about their wetlands projects at the conference.
Stephen says Wairio have had good water levels for the past two years and the Raupo beds along the margins of stage 3 and 4 are maturing nicely.
During the tours, several royal spoonbill were spotted as well as the first signs of natural regeneration of Totara and Kahikatea in the drier sections of Stage 3 under restoration plantings of manuka and kohuhu. These were planted in 2011.
The manuka and kohuhu are now more than 3 metres tall and have shaded out the ground cover of tall fescue grass to provide the microsite conditions necessary for successful establishment of totara and kahikatea seedlings
▪ For more information on Dr Tomscha’s project, visit www.victoria.ac.nz