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Landtalk - Tim's blog

March 2017

World Water Day

Tomorrow, Wednesday March 22nd is World Water Day. This is a great opportunity for all of us to celebrate the fact that most of us in this part of the world are blessed with plenty of it most of the time. But we also need to realise that there is also a danger that even here we can sometimes use too much of it, reducing the flows in our streams and underground aquifers. Even more importantly, many of our activities have an impact on the quality of that water.

The regional council cares deeply about water in our region and we’re working hard on water. We spend $24 million each year doing that and run 25,000 water quality tests and 700 stream flow measurements each year to see what the water has got to tell us. In the eastern bay, we are working alongside landowners to ensure streams are fenced and planted where possible and that the impact of farming and other activities on water quality is minimised. Go to our website www.boprc.govt.nz  and subscribe to our newsletter, Freshwater Flash, about all things water

But we can’t leave all the hard work to landowners and there are plenty of things we can all do. The Sustainable Backyards programme has had lots of events around water over the last few weeks and there are a couple more to come. Saturday 26th is Clean Up Our Waterways Day. Join a group and spend a few social hours in a place special to you. Meet at 9.30am at the Ōhiwa Loop Rd boat ramp to clean up around the harbour or 9.30am at the Ōpōtiki College to clean up in the Waioeka Gorge. Or if you’d like to organise another group in another place contact whakatane@envirohub.org.nz

This column is provided by the Eastern Land Resources team at the Bay of Plenty Regional Council. For more information on pests of all kinds, please call us on 0800 884 881 ext 9518 or at info@boprc.govt.nz

water day 

Wild Ginger – have you seen this plant?

Of all the invasive weeds people have brought into their gardens over the years, wild kahili ginger (Hedychium gardnerianum) is one of the worst. As with most such weeds, it was widely planted in gardens because of its pretty flower and pleasant scent. It’s flowering right now with its large yellow flower heads spiked with red stamens (see photo). The broad lily like leaves grow from tubers just under the soil surface.

Originally from the subtropical lower slopes of the Himalayas, ginger has found our coastal forests very much to its liking. The seed gets quickly been spread around by birds, from gardens into the bush. It grows very happily in the deep shade of native bush. Once established, it forms a dense, impenetrable mass of tubers and foliage, choking out any other plants until it’s the only plant remaining. Without seedlings to replace old trees as they die, the forest may completely collapse over time. There are places overseas where this has already happened, resulting in hills covered in nothing but wild ginger.

The rules of our Regional Pest Management Plan require landowners to destroy this plant if it’s found on their land. Depending on where it’s growing and how much there is, this can often be a difficult task and we are sometimes able to assist landowners meet their obligations. If you only have one or two plants, it’s easy.

We know many of the places where ginger’s growing but we probably don’t know them all. If you have ginger growing at your place, or if you know of ginger infestations elsewhere, please let me know. Your assistance would be very much appreciated.

This column is provided by the Eastern Land Resources team at the Bay of Plenty Regional Council. For more information on pests of all kinds, please call us on 0800 884 881 ext 6010 or at info@boprc.govt.nz

wild ginger 

February 2017

The transformation of the Waiewe Stream

Great things often start with a dream. Back in 2009, Annette Such had one for her local weed infested local reserve. The upper reaches of the Waiewe Stream was a wilderness of willows, gorse, wattle and Taiwan cherry with an understorey of pampas, blackberry, ginger and vines. She could see what a beautiful asset the stream could become for the surrounding community.

She began her own private battle with the weeds and enlisted a little help from the regional council staff. But it became clear that to do the job well, she needed more help and funding. A grant from the regional council’s Environmental Enhancement Fund really got things moving.

The funding allowed the engagement of a contractor to cut and poison all the large weed trees. With more help from Department of Corrections work gangs, Annette and her band of volunteers cleared the dead trees, sprayed the smaller weeds and removed the debris. As each area was cleared it was re-planted with native trees.

Over the last four years, over 2000 trees of 33 different species have been planted by local volunteers at weekend working bees. But that’s only the start – along the stream itself, another 5400 flaxes, grasses and reeds have been planted. There’s now a pleasant walk along the stream – go and take a look!

But keeping on top of the weeds is an ongoing battle and working bees are held regularly with the next one on 4 March at 9am. If you’d like to help out, give Annette a call on 3070227.

This column is provided by the Eastern Land Resources team at the Bay of Plenty Regional Council. For more information on pests of all kinds, please call us on 0800 884 881 ext 6010 or at info@boprc.govt.nz

transformation of the Waiewe Stream 

Help with nutrient management on your farm

For some years now, farmers, dairy farmers in particular have been diligently fencing their streams and often planting the fenced off banks. Stream crossings are generally better managed and often replaced with bridges. Managing dairy shed effluent disposal has also improved considerably over the last decade. All this work has had a positive effect on the quality of water in many of our streams with sediment and bacteria levels dropping.

But as recent events elsewhere in the country have shown, there are less visible ways that nutrients and bacterial contaminants get into our streams and groundwater. These pathways are a little more difficult to fix.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council is committed to helping farmers develop solutions for their farms and to front foot some of the farming challenges which just keep coming. So we are hosting nutrient management seminars to help. Well known independent farm consultant, Alison Dewes, will provide some insight into nutrient management plans, pathways of nutrient loss and possible solutions that could even save you money.

Rangitaiki Plains seminar: Thursday 16th March, Edgecumbe Memorial Hall 10am to 12.30pm

Ōpōtiki district seminar: Friday 17th March, Memorial Park Pavilion, Opotiki, 10am to 12.30pm

Both will begin with morning tea at 10am and end with lunch at 12.30pm. And they’re free! Please RSVP to Mieke Kapa at mieke.kapa@boprc.govt.nz or on 0800 884 881, ext 9534. If you’d like to find out more, give her a call.

You can see more of what Alison has to offer at www.tipuwhenua.com.

This column is provided by the Eastern Land Resources team at the Bay of Plenty Regional Council. For more information on pests of all kinds, please call us on 0800 884 881 ext 6010 or at info@boprc.govt.nz

Help with nutrient management on your farm

January 2017

A strange living fossil

Rough horsetail, Equisetum hyemale, (pictured) is one of only a small handful of plants that have their origins back in the age of the dinosaurs. Its appearance is equally unusual. Its leaves are almost invisible and the jointed, reed-like stalks are hollow and deep green with many fine, vertical ridges. There are dark brown bands at the joints. At the tip of each long, straight stem is a brown, cone-like structure which produces its reproductive spores.

The outside of the stem is rough and very high in silica and has in the past been used for scouring and polishing – hence its other name, scouring rush. It has also been used as a medicinal plant though it is poisonous.

The plant grows naturally in many parts of the northern hemisphere but has been introduced almost everywhere else where it has nearly always become a serious pest. It’s happiest in wet or damp places but isn’t overly fussy and will grow anywhere.

Probably because of its unusual appearance, it has occasionally been grown in gardens. But most people will regret ever planting it. It spreads by means of underground runners and can over-run an entire garden quite quickly. As there is a real danger of it invading our bush and wetlands, over the years, Regional Council staff have helped a number of residents get rid of this plant. And it’s very difficult to kill. Recently, several infestations have been dealt with in the Ōpōtiki area.

If you have the misfortune to have this plant in your garden, you are likely to want to get rid of it too. So get in touch with us on the number below for some help.

This column is provided by the Eastern Land Resources team at the Bay of Plenty Regional Council. For more information on pests of all kinds, please call us on 0800 884 881 ext 6010 or at info@boprc.govt.nz

Rough horsetail 

A walk in Onekawa Te Mawhai Regional Park

The kind weather at the moment will be enticing many outside for a walk. The Onekawa Te Mawhai Regional Park at the Ōhiwa headland is right on our doorstep and has within it a remarkable walk. From the edge of the Ōhiwa Harbour, the walking track winds through majestic coastal forest dominated by puriri and pohutukawa before emerging onto public farmland. Comprehensive pest control means that the bird life is prolific. And for an evening excursion, there is a side track to a dazzling display of glow worms.

At the top of the hill you’ll climb onto Onekawa pa, a special place central to the history of local tangata whenua. And from here, on a clear day, there are stunning views of the entire eastern bay coastline from Te Kaha to Mauao and inland as far as Maugapohatu. The steep cliffs below are cloaked in pohutukawa. The park is dotted with ancient pa sites and many of these historic features are clear to the sharp eyed.

The track continues through the farm, with its sheep and calves, down to Bryan’s Beach and from here a walk along the beach back to the Ōhiwa spit completes the loop. At the spit there is plenty of car parking, shelter and a band new public toilet. The whole loop is a 1½ to 2hr walk.

Thanks to the generosity of one of the park’s neighbours, the park has recently been expanded. This means that by this time next year there will be another loop tack in the park, providing the opportunity for a full day’s excursion.

To get there, turn off SH2 onto Ōhiwa Beach Road near the Waiōtahe estuary 12km west of Ōpōtiki and follow the signs. The turn off itself is well signed.

This column is provided by the Eastern Land Resources team at the Bay of Plenty Regional Council. For more information on pests of all kinds, please call us on 0800 884 881 ext 6010 or at info@boprc.govt.nz

Onekawa Te Mawhai Regional Park

For 2016 Landtalk articles, click here

For 2015 Landtalk articles, click here