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Your Conservation Connection

A weekly report on tracks and huts and general conservation news in the Wanganui conservancy, for people heading into the outdoors this weekend.

11 November 1999

Conservation titbits

Substantial and old-style lounge furniture has been purchased and delivered to the historic camphouse in Egmont National Park, putting the finishing touches to this recently restored accommodation building. Wanganui conservancy’s scientist and threatened plant staff have been at the North Egmont roadend assisting with planning for the re-landscaping of this area, with the revamp of the visitor centre and changes to traffic flows.

A pair of NZ Dotterell (tuturiwhatu) have nested and fledged a chick at Pungarere on the South Taranaki coast. These birds are known in Northland, Auckland and the Bay of Plenty and then not until Farewell Spit or Stewart Island. There are only about one to two thousand of them in the North Island and fewer than 200 in the South. Pungarere is the southernmost known North Island location for the birds.

Seed monitoring of Dactylanthus taylorii plants (NZ’s only fully parasitic flowering plant) on Mt Egmont is looking very encouraging. Stratford staff have also begun tagging short-jawed kokopu (rare fish) in study areas of the Katikara and Stony River tributary in order to monitor their movements.

It’s all go in Wanganui, with several species monitoring projects underway. Staff this week will be examining a plot of rare Green Hooded Orchid, to see whether it’s germinated. Next week staff will be carrying out a survey in the Wanganui region to try and find more of these rare plants.

Results of the recent 1080 possum control operation in Whanganui National Park look extremely promising, with a 99 percent kill rate. Staff have been laying traps to monitor how many possums still remain, and the very low catch rate indicates a successful operation. It’s high time the forest got a breather form the voracious appetite of this pest.

Whitiau scientific reserve will benefit greatly from a recent weed operation, which involved spraying and hand weeding boxthorn, pampa, gorse, broom, and pink ragwort.

Traffic on the Whanganui River is still slow, but the annual pre-season campsite clean-up is on the horizon. A permanent hut warden is installed at Whakahoro, so make sure you’ve purchased your Facility User Pass (FUP).

The entrance to Ohinepane campsite (south of Taumarunui) is posing a problem with both traffic turning into the campsite. It’s a tight corner, particularly for cars towing boats, and other road users are coming down the road a bit too quickly for turning vehicles to get out of the way.

An alternative is to continue on past the campsite and turn around 2km’s down the round at Saddlers Road and turn directly into Ohinepane.

Rangiwahia Track and Hut in the western Ruahine’s is open and getting good usage.

A blue Duck survey in the Ruahines only sighted one bird in Pourangaki River, staff found it really helpful to read about sightings in the hut books.
Three goats fitted with Judas collars (a tracking device to help locate bigger herds) have been released into the lower Ruahines. These “Judas” goats (after a short delay) will be radio-tracked, leading DoC hunters to the goats’ new friends. The rest goes without saying!

Tracks and huts

In New Plymouth, access over the Waitaanga stream is restricted to fine weather only; access through private land through to Mt Messenger – Kiwi Road – is closed for lambing until end of November; and a reminder that visitors to Whitecliff’s Walkway that Te Horo Stock Tunnel is still closed, and you can only travel the beach two hours either side of low tide.

Work is still continuing on Te Maire Track (18km’s north of Taumarunui) with more new structures being built.

In Whanganui National Park, a reminder that Otaraheke and Humphries Hut are both closed and visitors are required to use one of the other huts on the Matemateaonga Walkway. Also, Pokeka Hut in the Waitotora’s is closed.

For more information please contact:

New Plymouth Area Manager, Murray Crombie, 06-7580433
Stratford Area Manager, Rex Hendry, 06-7655144
Whanganui Area Manager, Bryon Fawcett, 06-3452402
Palmerston North Area Manager, Dave Smith, 06-3589004

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