World Wetlands Day 2004 -- New Zealand

12/02/2004

Lake Brunner Catchment Field Day
World Wetlands Day 2004 Report

In General

On February 2nd a successful Field Day was held for World Wetlands Day 2004. Lead agencies were WCRC and DOC (both Hokitika Conservancy and Grey Area Office). Two planning meetings were held prior to the Field Day plus much networking via email.

The day was a success due to the willingness of the many other groups involved with the WC ICM Working Group to help with the organizing or/and be lead persons for field activities. It was particularly rewarding that NIWA (Christchurch) organized key fieldwork in the area around the Field Day at benefit to both groups and that so many DOC staff from the local Area Office were involved over the day.

There were 10 people along from outside the ICM group and associated agencies. All were from outside the area and all barr 2 had come in response to advertising in the WMP Newsletter and the Messenger. Of those two one had come last year and was invited again by Mary Trayes and the other was asked along by Rick Barber on behalf of Ngati Waewae.
The 10 people came from such varied locations as Okarito, Hari Hari, Ross, Runanga, Charleston and 3 unknown. Numbers at any given activity varied over the day as some locals/NIWA staff came and went but all outside visitors were there until the end.

A downside of the day was the presence of a man (and his son) who was disinclined to give his name (everyone else had name tags), say where he lived/ came from or discuss why he was there. At the end of the day he took off with a key DOC work resource. A lesson from this is to take a register of attendance at the start of the day as well as counting heads (which was done).

On the logistics side the hire of the Yacht Club and rental of the mini-van was taken care of by WCRC, Landcare Trust supplied the morning tea / name tags and each lead person supplied relevant props/information/handouts about their field activity. Vehicles were pooled for transport and included use of the minivan, 2 DOC station wagons, Andy Harris's brown van and 2 utes belonging to local people. A small bus would have been excellent.

The day finished at 3.30pm at Shaffrey's farm at Inchbonnie on a very positive note. Timewise the programme got behind during the morning but by leaving out the last activity and covering those points elsewhere, and having a short lunch break only, all aims were fulfilled. After raining steadily during the introductory hour at the Yacht Club the weather eased with only one light shower at the last activity, a blessing as it was also quite warm and humid.

More specifically

Introduction:
With 1. Phillippe Gerbeaux, DOC Hokitika, about the concept/history of World Wetlands Day. With display board and handout. 2.Ian James regarding the role of the QE II Trust in covenanting wetlands. With handouts. 3. Mary Trayes gave details about the format of the day/carpooling and made programmes available.

Ruru Wetland:
With Les van Dyk, DOC Greymouth, regarding the presence of a new roadside pest plant, Canary Reed Grass, about proposed plans for preserving parts of the Ruru Swamp including protection status for some remaining stands of kahikatea forest and plans for lakeside willow eradication.

Effluent Disperal System, Cashmere Bay
With David Ellerm, owner of a tourism/housing/business development. Outlined and showed those present the ponds he has put in place to treat the human effluent from his proposed house/tourism complex. Many questions asked regarding this well laid out set-up designed to have absolute minimal impact on water quality in the lake

Cultural Harvesting of Lake Brunner Resources
With Rick Barber who did a brief explanation of the importance of Lake Brunner to WC Maori and Tungia Baker, (non local iwi) who has brought expertise and knowledge of weaving of the reed found at Cashmere Bay, Lake Brunner and Lake Mahinapua to the West Coast. Those present saw samples of weaving and were given an outline of plans for upcoming weaving workshops and tips on the actual harvesting method / need for this to be sustainable.

Farm Effluent System with Wetland
With Mary Trayes, WCRC assisted by Paul Berry at Brian Lowry's dairy farm at Moana. Here effluent entering a consented two pond system for 480 cows is further filtered via a long ditch/narrow wetland before finally entering a slow flowing creek which finally drains to the lake. The wetland margin has grass, tussock and willow-weed to filter out any nutrients missed in the ponds. Pros and cons of air movement and sunlight needs of ponds, such wetlands discussed

Post Humping & Hollowing Nutrient Runoff Project
With Catherine Chague-Goff, Clive Howard Williams, Brian Sorrell (Christchurch Office) and John Porteous (Greymouth Office) at Jason Marley's Rotomanu farm. NIWA had made the choice of which farm's humps and hollows they would use to do this monitoring work the day before so the weir and monitoring station were not in place. However they explained what they would do and how they could use the data, and showed photos of the actual gear to go in. Questions here provided a very good ongoing "middle of the paddock" discussion.

Lunch Break at Marley Farm
Sat on tailgates of vehicles and proceeded to eat and discuss things so far.

Pros and Cons of Riparian Buffers
With Trevor James WCRC, doing roadside stops at first Mosquito Creek and then upper Puzzle Creek. Trevor outlined results of monitoring of these streams for invertebrate/ fish health then discussed what effects/non-effects altering waterways and/or the different types of riparian margins had on this health. Generally best stream health with some stream meander, variety natural stream features (cobbles, logs etc) and varying cover - all grass being fine for invertebrates but less so for fish. Shane Hall noticed that mature trees showed evidence of bark stripping by cattle at Puzzle Creek which led to a discussion about the desirability of fencing / non fencing to allow regeneration and prevention of dieback (Mary Trayes, Ian James).

Rotomanu School Wetlands Project Site
With Sharleen Hole and host farmer/School BOT Chairperson Rosalie Shaffrey, at Shaffrey's farm at Inchbonnie. Those present walked over to the site at the back of the farm. An outline of the project was given by Sharleen while an interpretation of the swamp type, as per the new DOC resource, was given by Les van Dyk and Phillippe Gerbeaux while the group were standing in a sphagnum moss bog/fen.

The day finished at Shaffrey's farm at 3.30pm

WC ICM Wk Group personnel in attendance:

S Washington Landcare Trust
T James, M Trayes WCRC
P Gerbeaux DOC Conservancy Office, Hokitika
S Hall, S Hole, L van Dyk, F Thomas DOC Area Office, Greymouth
C Chague-goff, C Howard Williams,
John Porteous, Brian Sorrell NIWA
I James QEII Trust WC
K Milne, I Whitmore, P Berry (also GDC) Farmers )
Rick Barber Ngati Waewae
David Ellerm Moana Developer
Maria Hoogeven Farm Liaison Officer, Westland Milk Products

Visitors
T & H Chambers, Charleston, Buller Conservation Group, WC Forest & Bird
Anne Hall, Okarito, WC Tai Poutini Conservation Board
Friend of Anne Hall not known
Andy Harris, Hari Hari Farmer / Fish & Game
Ben Hutana, Ross Ngati Waewae
Tungia Baker, other iwi
Ron Butler Northern Ward Community Board, GDC
2 un-named persons not known

Host Farmers
Brian Lowry Moana
Jason Marley Rotomanu
Rosalie Shaffrey Inchbonnie

[Update 5/2/2004
The mystery person returned the missing file on Wed. Feb. 4th to the Greymouth DOC Office. Offered Sharleen Hole feedback about good and points of their work and then left, still not willing to give his name. While he obviously had some experience of the West Coast - may have lived and or/ tramped here - and knew something of issues at Lake B., the person is definitely an enigma.]


South Westland

Saturday 31 January. 10am to 2pm. Walk around Hapuka Walk. Staff
will be at certain places along the track to provide interpretation about flax weaving, freshwater fish, forest succession and bird species. People walking the track can take part in a quiz. There will also be information about World Wetlands Day available.

There will also be a flax weaving competition. Wet weather option will be a whitebait slide show and flax weaving in the Visitor Centre.

-- reported by Mary Trayes [mailto:mt@wcrc.govt.nz]

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