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Rafting company joins fight against Old Man’s Beard

Rafting company joins fight against Old Man’s Beard

Horizons Regional Council has joined forces with local tourist operator River Valley to tackle the invasive weed, Old Man’s Beard, that is trying to get a foothold in the upper Rangitikei River area.

Horizons environmental management officer plants Malinda Matthewson says Horizons conducts an annual aerial search and destroy operation to find and control Old Man’s Beard in the river corridor up from Mokai Bridge.
“While aerial surveys in a helicopter are the best way to detect Old Man’s Beard over large areas, local river guides are also joining in and doing their bit while rafting the river,” says Ms Matthewson.

“Last season Brian Megaw, owner of River Valley, pointed out some sites Horizons hadn’t seen the previous year and this meant those sites could be controlled before they flowered and set seed.

“Brian and his crew are also controlling any Old Man’s Beard they come across on walking tracks and river margins. Horizons have supplied some chemicals to help out but most of this very important work is funded by River Valley.”
Brian Megaw says the river is everyone’s responsibility and they are happy to do their bit to help Horizons in the fight to limit this weed in pristine areas.
“The loss of biodiversity in those areas that had been smothered by Old Man’s Beard is a real long-term concern,” he says.

Ms Matthewson says the river is a fantastic recreational asset with many people enjoying rafting and other activities such as horse riding with River Valley.
“With continued vigilance from Horizons, River Valley and other river users, it is hoped people using the river will not have the magnificent scenery smothered by Old Man’s Beard,” she says.

What can you do as a resident of this district?

There are a number of things that you can do to help. These may include giving your time and joining one of the volunteer groups that are waging war on Old Man’s Beard or simply eradicating it from your own section. Details of how to remove this plant can be found on the Horizons website or alternatively call Horizons freephone 0508 800 800 for advice.


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