Gorse is the target of an aerial weed control operation planned for the Tauherenikau River Valley in the Tararua Forest Park on the first fine, still day before Christmas.
The Department of Conservation will use a helicopter-mounted boom sprayer and gun and hose equipment to apply the herbicide Grazon to 25 hectares of gorse that threatens to overrun popular and beautiful Tauherenikau River valley between Cone Hut and Smith Creek Shelter.
Gorse along the Tauherenikau River
Signs will be posted at entrance points to the forest park, advising people to stick to the marked track if travelling through the valley or to choose another route.
DOC biodiversity programme manager Bruce Vander Lee said gorse was not seen as an “enemy” in many situations, because it was able to assist in the regeneration of native forest.
“It fixes nitrogen to the soil, provides shelter from the elements and protection from animals, and helps suppress other pest plants. Many native species are able to grow up through it and eventually out compete it.
“But in this case the gorse is in a river system, where the native plants are small and will not grow to overtop the gorse, so the whole ecosystem is being altered. Access to the river banks is also being seriously impeded.” ENDS