Upper Hutt has a number of denuded streams & river-ways that weave throughout the area, so the branch has been working to make sure these rivers are flanked by leafy verges.
The branch has also been active in helping the birdlife in the region through weed-busting and pest-busting initiatives.
Friends of the Hutt River
The Hutt river serves has significant ecological importance even though it is a relatively small river with a catchment area 250 sq. miles
Historically the original vegetation of the Hutt Valley contained native sedge pingao, swampy marshes full of raupo, tall flaxes and toetoe. Over the last 200 years most of this vegetation has been cleared, in which the only remnants of the original vegetation is near the Hutt river banks.
The Upper Hutt is very involved in a care group to help protect the Hutt River. The Greater Wellington Regional Council has applied to take more water from the Hutt River for three years while strengthening and enlarging work is undertaken at the Te Marua water treatment plant.
The present rate of water extraction already leaves the river with insufficient flow for it to remain free of toxic algae during the summer. E-coli levels at certain parts of the river climb beyond accepted levels also.
If consent is granted the water flow will be reduced by one third from its current level.
Hutt Valley people were so concerned about the GWRC’s application to take more water that they got together and formed a care group, ‘Friends of the Hutt River’.
This group has brought together several diverse organizations. People from Forest and Bird, Fish and Game, Rotary, Sustainable Towns and other caring individuals have come together to protect the Hutt river in hope that their combined voices will carry more weight and make politicians take notice.
Restoration: Trentham Memorial Park
The branch works to restore a number of the waterways in this area, by re-planting, creating fish passages and removing unwanted weeds such as willows.
Figure 1. The Barton Street entrance to Trentham Memorial park is now looking much greener with the addition of new sedges, flaxes and rushes to the new island and surrounding banks. Volunteers have worked hard to decorate the entrance.
During the year 10 working bees have been held, and a total of 1126 plants have been planted throughout the area. Plant growth has been excellent after three good growing years, and trees and wetland plants are a good size, producing flowers and seeds in large quantities.
A large grant from DOC was received to remove all the remaining willows in one go. After two lots of weed spraying, 2205 wetland grasses, flax and cabbage trees were planted and have since grown well. More planting will continue in this area.
Trentham Memorial Park
The branch is working on removing a stand of karaka saplings and seedlings within the Domain Bush. With help from WellTech horticulture students, thousands of extremely invasive plants as well as cherry seedlings have been removed.
The Upper Hutt branch is involved in reducing the number of wilding pines and introduced animal pests such as possums, rats, mice, ferrets, stoats and cats.
Upper Hutt branch is now in their 15th year of possum management, with emphasis now being placed on more rat control.
Great Wellington Regional Council have reduced possum numbers by 85% their area. Rats are now being targeted as they are a serious threat to young birds and consume tree seeds and fruit.
Maidstone Park has been resurveyed for bait station location following the removal of most of the pine trees. Pindone is being used as the bait as rabbits are also considered a problem.
Tunnel Gully has being trialing a new metal rat trap ‘Kamate’ which has been working quite well.