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Enhancing biodiversity in the Esk Valley

ERCG 2022 end of year meeting cropped sm

Written by Kim Anstey, Te Huka Waiohinganga (Esk) River Care Group

Over the past four years, a group of Eskdale and Bay View locals have been working to bring a little more biodiversity to the Esk Valley.  3.5ha of DOC owned land alongside the Esk River has been planted in natives, made possible by the excellent support the group has had from the community, local sponsorship, Councils and environmental organisations. There is also a diverse skill set within the group which has been key to their success.

Once up and running, the group were fortunate to receive multiple offers of sponsorship from the business community. After two years, a partnership was established with Pan Pac who are now a key sponsor of annual planting days.  Crowd funding via the successful Tree’s that Count organisation has also been integral. Eskdale School hold an annual planting day and an area was set aside last year for the planting of their six house trees.

One of the key challenges faced by the group has been weed control.  Like all Hawke’s Bay rivers, the river edge contains many invasive species. Plenty has been learnt about the importance of establishing timely weed maintenance programmes after planting and tighter plant spacing so that weeds can be crowded out in the shortest time possible. Funding for weed control isn’t quite as easy to obtain so the group were immensely grateful to Manawa Energy who provided funds for this purpose in 2022.

The next milestone for the group is establishing a community nursery. Again, some excellent sponsorship and some more key partnerships have been established to make this happen, including $3k of funding from Biodiversity Hawke’s Bay.  The nursery will be a shared space between our group and the Maungaharuru Tangitū Trust with the goal to produce 5,000 plants a year each.

As there are some pockets of remaining indigenous forest remnants within the catchment, the aim is to eco source seeds from these areas for germination in the nursery. The nursery is going to follow the model of the local DOC nursery who has four to five volunteers working half a day a week to produce 5,000 plants a year.  This will enable the group to grow plants at a significantly lower cost and therefore ensure the groups continued success into the future.

The group has been blown away to discover the generosity and enthusiasm out there to support groups like ours.

Photo: Te Huka Waiohinganga (Esk) River Care Group end of year meeting November 2022

 

25 November 2022

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