Rural update March 2022
With Autumn planting just around the corner, the teams have been busy looking after current plantings and getting them winter ready.
Get in touch if you would like to discuss planting or plant maintenance on your farm.
It’s also coming in to rabbit control season and the team can assist by adding rabbit netting to current fences, or checking and patching existing fences to get them in good shape for winter control efforts.
What taonga (treasures) live on your farm?
Many native species, both plants and animals, live and thrive on farmland throughout NZ. This diversity of plants and animals is a win for both farmers and the species for which the farm provides habitat. WAI Wānaka has compiled a range of simple monitoring techniques to help landowners track changes in native biodiversity over time. Tracking over time can help:
- Get the kids excited about birds, worms and lizards
- See the benefit of planting, weed control and/or pest control carried out on farm
- Develop management practices that protect and encourage our native flora and fauna
- Collect data to inform policy and regulation
One of our most endangered species in this area (think kākāpō levels of endangered) is the Clutha Flathead (Galaxias species “D”), a small native fish that currently still resides in some waterways in the Cardrona Valley. It has a very limited range and needs a fair bit of help to ensure the species survives into the future. WAI, DOC, ORC, and Fish & Game are working together with landowners to identify streams where the fish live, what state the population is in, and then work with farmers to protect them. Interestingly, the biggest threat to the Clutha Flathead are introduced fish species such as trout. Finding out where they live means that their habitat can be protected by building ‘roadblocks’ to stop these predator species invading their territory.
We work closely with ORC to help landowners control Nassella Tussock in the Cardrona Valley. It’s a labour intensive job – mostly done with grubbers (or sometimes sprayed if a big area). Controlling pest species (plant and animal) is a huge part in protecting our native biodiversity. The WAI team has also been helping clear the following species from amongst native bush:
- wilding conifers
- broom and gorse
- sycamores, rowans and cherry
Photo: Emma Cranmer (WAI Field Team) and Richard Lord (ORC Biosecurity Lead) filming a Nassella Tussock Q&A for the Year 8 ‘Farmers as Kaitiaki’ class
You may recognise Tom’s face from our field team. Tom recently came across to the dark side (the office) to help out with operations and logistics for the Jobs for Nature field team. With the Autumn team starting on Monday, Tom and our field supervisors will be making sure they’re trained up and ready to deliver work across rabbit fencing, planting, plant maintenance, weed control and trapping.