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Help save the Tauherenikau Valley!

Posted by John Rhodes (South Wairarapa TC) 
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John Rhodes (South Wairarapa TC)
Help save the Tauherenikau Valley!
November 27, 2011 11:07AM
About ten years ago a tramper noticed exotic Spanish heath (Erica lusitanica) at Slip Stream in the Tauherenikau Valley. Spanish heath infests open areas and kanuka shrubland, and can out-compete kanuka. If unchecked, it may permanently alter the character and ecosystem of the valley and spread into other Tararua valleys. We must stop it.

Since 2008, DOC has run four volunteer weekends, based at Tutuwai Hut, to contain the spread of this pest plant and progressively eliminate it. Volunteers have concentrated on the Slip Stream area and have also found and eliminated a few plants at the mouth of Tutuwai Stream, forestalling the advance of heath towards the Cone flats.

Limited person-power has prevented work on known heath infestations between Slip Stream and Smith Creek, while the true right bank of the Tauherenikau has received only limited attention.

DOC needs help to pull out small heath plants, cut larger plants and swab the stumps with herbicide gel. The project needs long-term commitment as seedlings keep appearing.

In November 2011, volunteers also tackled a Buddleia infestation at Slip Stream which threatened to invade the main valley. Stream beds in the Rimutaka Forest Park are choked with Buddleia, which must not be allowed to colonise the Tararuas.

Clubs have been associated with the upper Tauherenikau Valley since 1917, when the Greytown Mount Hector Track Committee built its Tauherenikau Hut near the mouth of Reeves Stream. In 1946, the Tararua Tramping Club completed Cone Hut, which is still in use. Many beginning trampers make their first trips in the valley and camp on its delightful flats. We must now help DOC control Spanish heath to preserve the upper Tauherenikau for new generations of trampers.

The next Tauherenikau volunteer weekend is scheduled for 24-25 March 2012.

Refer to the DOC website - [bit.ly] - or go to [doc.govt.nz] and search for 'Tauherenikau Spanish heath control'

Or contact Phil Brady, pjbrady@doc.govt.nz or 06-377-0700.

John Rhodes (South Wairarapa TC)