Braided rivers bird count
We did our first bird count on the Dart and Rees rivers in November 2017. A planned repeat count in November 2018 was abandoned due to very high water flows on the rivers. We will do a count this year in early November. It will take place over 2 days, exact dates to be finalised nearer the time and will depend on the weather and water flows. If you want to be a volunteer and want some more information please contact us. Contact details are on our website.
Braided rivers, such as the Dart and Rees, are unique and complex ecosystems that are rare in other parts of the world. The South Island has many wonderful examples. Most New Zealanders and international visitors are unaware of how special they are. These river systems themselves also need protection, as well as the wildlife that use them as a habitat.
BRAID is a braided river conservation and management network that is a tremendous resource. Please visit their website (braid.org.nz) for more information.
Together with DOC and several other community conservation trusts in the Wakatipu and Wanaka valleys, we have been working closely with Wildlands, an ecology and environmental consulting company. The outcome of all this activity will be a report that will help us plan future projects, both for ourselves and with other trusts and to try and fill the gaps across all our areas of work. When the report is finalised we will update the news here
An important part of predator control work are the data that we collect. We keep an accurate record of all our data and we now publish them in our newsletter. Please subscribe to the newsletter if you wish to see the numbers.
Feral cats are a nuisance nationally and not just locally. They are as much a pest as any other non-native predator. We are working closely with the Lakes branch of Forest and Bird to tackle the problem. Feral cat trapping is done in a different way to traditional predator trapping. Our plans are in development and we hope to start this in late spring of this year. We will post updates here in due course.
Buckler Burn and hedgehogs
The Buckler Burn is a stream that flows into Lake Wakatipu to the south east of Glenorchy. At the end of 2018 we set up a new trap line of 40 traps on each side of the burn. We have done this to stop hedgehogs from moving north along the east side of the lake. We do not have hedgehogs in Glenorchy at present and we want to keep it that way. The traps are serviced monthly by a wonderful team of volunteers from Glenorchy.
As posted in an earlier news item (DOC Community Fund 2019) we are planning to tackle the hedgehog problem on the northwest side of the lake with a new tarp line along the Greenstone Road.
RDWT also funds part of Project Hollyford Face on the Routeburn Track. Evan Smith, one of the MacKenzie hut wardens, has been giving inspiring hut talks about predator control for many years and using any money raised to extend the network of traps on the track.
In the November survey we counted 71 wrybill on the Dart River.
We now have the report from the bird count/survey. We will repeat it in 2018 and 2019.
Bird count 2017
With the help of contractors Mike and Pat from WMIL (Wildlife Management International Limited) the RDWT held its first braided river bird survey over the weekend. We had great weather and willing volunteers and met our goal of walking approximately 20 km stretches of both the Rees and the Dart rivers, finishing at the delta.
DOC warden supports the Trust
Eiji Kitai, a Greenstone Track hut warden from Queenstown, is spending four months this summer walking the Te Araroa Trail enjoying the environment, meeting new people and spreading the word about the projects of the Routeburn Dart Wildlife Trust.
Real Journeys fund raising
We are delighted to announce that Real Journeys has chosen the Trust to be one of two recipients of money from their annual winter ball, which will be in August at Walter's Peak. This is excellent and exciting news. Thank you Real Journeys.
The cost to bait all the river traps
The cost to maintain accurate predator data
The cost to complete an annual bird count on the rivers
The cost to check and reload all the river traps
The cost to check and reload one river trap for a year
The cost to check and reload ten river traps for a year