SERN Spring Field Trip 2014
A trip to the Catlins to celebrate restoration work in the area. Biodiversity Southland coordinator, Janet Gregory, Landcare Trust updated attendees on wider Southland biodiversity happenings as well. The annual spring field trip run by the Southland Ecological Restoration Network (SERN) visited a number of restoration sites in the Catlins on Thursday 6th November. The day, run in conjunction with Biodiversity Southland, was a celebration of people’s efforts to enhance and protect our native habitats and species. At Waipapa Point, Forest & Bird Southland are undertaking pingao plantings, although the lumbering of fur seals through the area is proving a challenge. The forest remnant near the Curio Bay Camping Ground, purchased and protected by the local Development Trust, now has a track through it to allow people to enjoy the experience of the living forest so close to the renowned petrified forest. The Leith family from Waikawa, for decades involved in possum eradication around Southland, are also making their environmental contribution through native plantings and wetland creations.
The younger generation, Vincent Leith, spoke to the group about his vision for the future of the land he owns at the mouth of the Waikawa Stream. His connection to the land, the flora and fauna, bedded in his ancestor’s cultural use of the area, was clear and expressed with passion. Of the small stream that ran in to his place from the nearby hill, Vincent said, “Come here any night and shine in a torch and you will see native fish – kokopu, inanga, bullies, eels and koura.” He has fenced the stream off with help from a Biodiversity Southland project in the Waikawa Catchment. Looking in to a rushy gully he said, “Fish & Game have helped to work out levels to build a series of dams here. The ponds will provide habitat to the fish and waterfowl. I enjoy hunting a few mallards!” He also said that they still saw grey ducks in the area. The recent return of the land adjacent to the Niagara Falls to Ngai Tahu recognises this area as a Nohoanga site, where whanau would camp to gather food , like the kana kana (lamprey). Further work supported by the Living Streams project was visited in the upper Waikawa catchment on the Bergius property. Ross and Ana have been busy undertaking extensive riparian plantings, including reintroduction of ribbonwood (Plagianthus regius) along smaller streams and ditches on their property. Karl Erikson, Environment Southland Land Sustainability Officer, told of their wetland story. “Instead of draining it, when they realised the natural values there and the significance to water quality, the Bergius’s decided to protect and enhance it”, he said.