Archive for the 'Wildlife' Category

Restoring Auckland’s Puriri Rock Forest

August 10th, 2018

Meola Creek is one of the areas in the Auckland isthmus which has remnants of puriri forest on lava flow.  Auckland Council defines rock forest as critically endangered – see Auckland ecosystem types. Overall only a few hectares remain, mostly near Maungawhau, especially at Withiel Thomas Reserve.

Auckland’s lava rock forest contains hardy broadleaved tree species such as puriri, pohutukawa, karaka, titoki, kohekohe and mangaeo, while podocarp species such as rimu and kahikatea are typically absent. Kawakawa and whau are common. Both these distinctive smaller trees are endemic to NZ and have stunning seed capsules. All these trees provide much needed shade for life in the spring-fed creek waters.

Here puriri flowers are on the left and seeds, flours and leaves on right.  Many photos of all these plants can be found on Plant Conservation Network site.

The longest lava flow in the Auckland Volcanic field originated from Titikopuke (Mt St John) and reached the sea at Te Tokaroa (Meola Reef). Its edge defines the course of Meola Creek. The forest that grew on the Auckland lava flows has always been one of New Zealand’s most locally confined landscape types, and the growth of Auckland city has almost completely destroyed it. A story of heroic large scale forest restoration can be found here. Passionate volunteers have spent 20 years on Maungawhau clearing weeds such as tradescantia to allow natural regeneration of native plants.

Ecological restoration of lava flow forest continues in the Roy Clements Treeway by removing exotics, weeds and replanting with appropriate species. Once established, most plants will self-seed and the rock forest can be sustained.

Watercare provided our first kohekohe in 2017 and it is thriving. STEPS is also working with AELB and Auckland Council organisations to restore more rock forest remnants. Landscape scale weed control of privet and asparagus weed will be needed before planting can take place. If you need more information or would like to be involved please contact STEPS on this website or by Facebook @STEPSNZ

Here whau is on left and kawakawa on right, Roy Clements Treeway August 2018.

Trapping pests in Roy Clements Treeway

November 2nd, 2017

Above is a summary from a Council presentation outlining the pest management approach.  Two volunteers resigned and were replaced so we still have a total of four.  A training session (July 2016) was held at RCT in order to fill the gap in the volunteer numbers.

Results from the last two trapping sessions (August to mid December 2016 and March to June 2017) are shown below.  The numbers may be a slight underestimate as there’s no guarantee that volunteers always record all their catches.

Rats Hedgehogs Mice
16 0 4

The latest animal pest monitoring results showed a drop in tracking indices. Notwithstanding that it’s difficult to obtain accurate monitoring data in small urban reserves such as RCT, it’s still encouraging to see such results.

Sarah Peters | Community Park Ranger (Wha)

Parks Services  Community Services

Auckland Council

STEPS at Weona Walkway

October 18th, 2017

Saturday 14 October was a sunny day and we had a good turnout for the Weona Walkway.

The location is on the harbour in Waiateao Motions Creek estuary looking directly across to Te Tokaroa Meola Reef – another ecological gem which Auckland Council and Waitemata Local Board should restore. Many birds live at this beautiful place. See Map of Weona-Westmere coastal walkway.

Vounteers Yoshi and Helen turned up to help Jeanette and Sandra, and STEPS Members Mac, Pat, Dennis, Liz and Sel all had an enjoyable morning. 

We tackled an area full of privet with some honeysuckle, ginger, montbretia and other problem plants. We also gathered some woolly nightshade fruit further north along the track. Jeanette meanwhile picked up 8-9 bags of rubbish further south towards the scout den on Meola road.

Thanks to all volunteers and to Sarah and Council for their support. Special thanks to Jeanette, Mac, Sel and Sarah for helping organise our day.

We trust that the vision shown by the Waitemata Local Board in restoring this harbour fringe will be reflected in the upcoming ecological restoration of Te Tokaroa where there is further potential for birds and ecological habitat which future generations of Aucklanders will appreciate.  Nearby Waiorea Western Springs with 9.6 million cubic meters per year of available spring water is the largest aquifer under Auckland Council’s protection; it too is under consideration by Waitemata Local Board and Auckland Council for enhancement soon.

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