We have had a busy few months writing business plans, feasibility studies and planning our future. We will continue our work with Projects Rock Wren and Routeburn and start a project on the braided Dart and Rees rivers. We will also raise our profile and improve our news and communication processes, including our website, social media and newsletters. We will do this for two reasons – to increase awareness of our conservation agenda and to support our fundraising plans. We will also start planning the production of a promotional film about our work and the local conservation story.
The Otago Daily Times wrote a feature article on our plans for introducing predator control alongside the Dart and Rees rivers – the Braided Rivers Project. Please follow this link to ‘read all about it’.
Photo: Vladka Kennett
Our trustees took over responsibility for managing the 34 traps on the Lake Sylvan trap line (in Mt Aspiring National Park) at the end of last month. We have a monthly roster, with each of us being responsible for the traps for the month. Thanks to Whitney, from DOC, for her patience with us and her excellent training.
We have now decided that the Braided Rivers Project is our next challenge. It is ambitious and exciting. By extending predator control alongside the Dart and Rees rivers that flow from the Routeburn and Dart valleys into Lake Wakatipu at Glenorchy we can protect five bird species that use the rivers as habitat and also link to Project Routeburn and Project Rock Wren as well as with other existing predator control projects. Our vision of a predator free zone from Martin’s Bay to Lake Wakatipu is possible – from the ‘ocean to the lake’. Our next steps are to get a detailed scoping report, plan our fund raising and finalise our business plan.
Richard Maloney, a DOC national expert on braided rivers, spent a day in Queenstown this month, working with us on a table top exercise to assess the feasibility of predator control on the Dart and Rees rivers. We decided to go down this route at our board meeting in November last year. A report written by Richard and Geoff Hughes, following the table top exercise tells, us that the ‘Braided Rivers Project’ is challenging but possible. We need to take a long term view and accept that we will not get immediate success. Our next step is to consider the report and then decide if we want to go to ahead with the project.
At the beginning of next year we will do a feasibility study to explore the possibility of extending our predator control work into the Dart and Rees braided rivers that flow from the Routeburn and Dart valleys into Lake Wakatipu at Glenorchy. Technical expertise will be given by Richard Maloney from DOC. Richard is a national expert on the ecology of braided rivers.
We are pleased to announce the appointment of Geoff Hughes as a part-time executive officer for the trust. Geoff moved to Queenstown in 2016 after taking early retirement from his career as a medical practitioner. He and his wife emigrated to New Zealand from the UK in 1997. They have been fortunate to travel to many parts of the world with a focus on wildernesses and wildlife conservation. He is a keen birder, finding them fascinating and wonderful creatures. We look forward very much to working with him.