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Catchpool Restoration Project Update - November 2019

Corporate volunteers from ACC group holding shovels and other tools during their volunteer day down at the wetlands restoration area of the Catchpool Valley.
Corporate volunteers from ACC near the end of their volunteer day down at the wetlands restoration area of the Catchpool Valley, Remutaka Forest Park. Here, they engaged in some impressive hydro-engineering tasks (ahem, water play!) where they re-connected a water course across the gravel road from one of the many streams that feed the wetlands.  Photo credit: PC.

Digging a channel across the gravel road to connect the stream to its former watercourse.Some exhausted bodies at the end of a hot, hard physical day's work over at the Catchpool wetlands. Here they are seen digging a channel across the gravel road to reconnect the stream to its former watercourse. During the day, they also destroyed large amounts of weeds (like Old Man's Beard, buddleia, gorse, and blackberry vines) and then planted some kowhai and kanuka trees and a few nikau palms in their place.
Photo credit: PC.

Pair of volunteers planting a kowhai seedling to replace the wilding pines removed from the site
Pair of ACC volunteers planting one of several a kowhai and kanuka seedlings to replace the wilding pines removed from the site. These natives will provide more appropriate bush tucker for the local birds, lizards and insects. Photo credit: PC.

Image of the wetlands area we are about to restore.
Here's a small segment of the wetlands area we've undertaken to restore. It already harbours considerable wildlife and will become an even better haven for native biodiversity once we've removed the weeds and undertaken some appropriate riparian planting. Now that we have easier access, following exploration and mapping, we have found that the wetlands extensions cover a much more expansive area than previously thought - Photo credit: PC.

Wetlands restoration begins in earnest

Mallard duck peeking through the bullrushes and sedges at the edge of the wetlands.
Mallard duck peeking through the bullrushes and sedges at the edge of the wetlands. Paradise Shelducks, kingfishers, pukeko, grey herons, and even shags, are frequently seen in this area between the Catchpool Stream and the wetlands access road.  Photo credit: PC.

Now that the access roadway has been cleared - allowing us to easily transport volunteers and tools to the wetlands restoration zone - we are getting stuck into the task of transforming the area into an attractive, thriving wetlands eco-system. This is with a view to  creating a new loop track and boardwalks and viewing platforms suitable for safe access to the wetlands by visitors of any age or physical capability.

Wheelchair access for disabled folk - and pram-friendly boardwalks for parents - is part of this vision.

Two men holding up a thick Old Man's Beard vine that they cut in an effort to rid this area of the noxious weed.
Couple of ACC volunteers holding up a thick segment of the Old Man's Beard vines that we cut during the day's work at the bush area adjacent to the wetlands restoration site. We found much more of an infestation of Old Man's Beard than we expected on our way to other known, GPD'd sites. So a LOT of cutting and pulling was done in the bush just across the Catchpool Stream from the access road near the Nature Trail picnic area. Some of the vines were as thick as your thigh! Photo credit: PC.

In other Restoration Project News

Had a brief meeting with our Nursery Manager, Jonathan Bussell, regarding annual seed collection and establishing new lines of seedling trays for growing in our nursery. We'll be getting together again soon, working through the planting lists we helped Masters student, Roald Bomans create during the process of re-writing our Restoration Plan. Particular emphasis will be placed on our riparian and wetlands restoration needs.

Aim is to fill our nursery with plenty of new native tree seedlings next year for the nursery group to tend until they're big enough to plant out in future winters.

Corporate Volunteers enjoying BBQ lunch

ACC volunteers cooking BBQ lunch in the campground kitchen during their volunteer day at the Catchpool. ACC volunteers cooking BBQ lunch in the campground kitchen during their volunteer day at the Catchpool. The vegetarian kebabs were a big hit. Photo credit: PC. 

Anticipated near-term expenses...

Map of restoration zones operational area provided to Contact Energy staff ahead of their Volunteer Day down at the Remutaka Forest Park.
Map of the restoration zones operational area provided to Contact Energy staff ahead of their Volunteer Day down at the Remutaka Forest Park. The ACC team were provided with similar preparatory material prior to arrival.