2021 SERN Spring Field Day
The SERN Spring Field Trip will explore the Lower Waiau Valley. The bus trip will leave Feldwick Gates, Queens Park at 9.00am, heading to the lower Waiau valley where we will hear from Mark Sutton of the Waiau Habitat Enhancement Trust about the created wetlands they developed with the purpose of increasing whitebait and eel populations, all threatened species. SERN visited these wetlands in 2008, not long after their creation. We willl hear about the development of this successful native fisheries habitat and how it has evolved over time, the animal and plant pest control required and research work done to show how effective the project has been in supporting a native fishery.
The lunch stop will be at Clifden Bridge, where QEII National Trust reps, Jesse Bythell and Mark Sutton will tell us about the special features of limestone country and what grows there, and about some of the QEII National Trust covenants in the area.
In the afternoon we will visit Broadlands Bush, owned by the Day family. A 12ha podocarp forest remnant on the banks of the Waiau River, protected by a QEII National Trust Open Space Covenant, there are some magnificent 1000 year old totara within, along with a number of threatened plant species. Following an explore through the bush we will move to the neighbouring Wairaki Oxbow Lagoon, owned by the Smith family. This wetland area still retains its natural character with carex, flax, toe toe. The Waiau Trust is assisting with fencing of the area and some revegetation work. The Smith family are happy for the public to access the wetland and so the Waiau Trust is also helping with the development of tracks to enable this.
The bus will return to Feldwick Gates by around 5.00pm.
NB: There will be some bushbashing in the afternoon, so gumboots/heavy shoes plus a good level of fitness will be required at times. For those wishing to join us, but maybe not so active, there would be time to enjoy the bush quietly, then join in again later at the wetland. Due to Covid restrictions, masks will be mandatory on the bus.
BYO lunch and refreshments.
Thanks go to the Biodiversity Team, Environment Southland for their support of this field day in covering the bus cost. Hear from them on the day about the biodiversity work going on in Southland and the funds available to groups for this.