Volunteers in Wairepo Kettleholes Conservation Area
Conservation groups and volunteers came together last weekend to undertake the mammoth task of removing wilding pine trees from Wairepo Kettleholes Conservation Area.
Members of the Ohau Conservation Trust, Lindis Conservation Group, Forest & Bird, Timaru over 60s group and Lake Ohau Lodge joined Department of Conservation (DOC) Rangers for two physical workdays. DOC organises the annual event as an opportunity for different volunteer groups to mingle and work on a conservation project.
“Having such a large group of active volunteers tackle the rogue pines makes the physical work a lot of fun and can establish great friendships,” stated Peter Willemse, DOC Threats Ranger.
“Over 105 ha of public conservation land was cleared over the two days as 3-4 year old pinus contorta trees were removed.”
The Wairepo Kettleholes Conservation Area was established in 2005 when Glen Eyrie Downs Station completed tenure review. Since then regular sweeps have been made of the area to remove wilding pines.
“We are now starting to see the native vegetation flourishing. Tussocks and small native plants are coping better since the removal of trees that were crowding and shading them out,” said Peter.
Located down Quailburn Road near Omarama, the Wairepo Kettleholes Conservation Area is regularly visited by people hoping to see native birds such as black stilt/kakī, wrybill/ngutu parore, black-fronted tern/tarapirohe and shoveller duck/kuruwhengi.
The area is made up of moraine and outwash gravels which were formed down-valley of Ohau glacier (present over 10,000 years ago). Small depressions within these moraines, which sometimes fill up with water, are called kettle holes.