The impact of all of the pest control work that is happening around Lake Okareka is having a positive impact on the biodiversity in the area. There is of course the animal pest control work that Forest & Bird Rotorua branch volunteers (some of whom are also Landcare Okareka volunteers) are doing in Lake Tikitapu Scenic Reserve. This work is supported by all of the local Okareka settlement householders who have purchased bait stations and are keeping them filled with bait regularly. The bait supplied by Bay of Plenty Regional Council is managed by Landcare Okareka.
And of course the other project is the trapping programme around the wetland marginal areas of Lake Okareka, which is managed by Mike Vincent and his team of trappers. This project has support from both Landcare Okareka and Lake Okareka Community Assn. The team have trapped over 230 rats since they started in September 2013. The guys are currently trialling some different bait in the traps and are trying to catch more mustelids (stoats and weasels) as well as rats. LOCA has obtained a further 20 trapping boxes and will be purchasing more traps for these.
We are also hoping to have a few more volunteer trappers join the team to help with this very worthwhile project. The aim is to protect the wetland birdlife, especially the rare and endangered dab chicks. It will be interesting to see what the autumn dab chick counts show for Lake Okareka. Well done to everyone who has taken part in any of these animal pest control projects around Lake Okareka – the native biodiversity - birds, insect life, bats and plants - of the area are all benefitting from your work!
Maintenance of plantings and reserve areas is always on-going. Weeds, like rust, never sleep. Seedling willows, cherries, dogwoods along with blackberry, gorse, ivy and jasmine, spindle berry and Old Man's Beard are all target species for weed control around Lake Okareka. Landcare Okareka has the support of Rotorua District Council, Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Department of Conservation to undertake this weed control work in the local reserves. So don't be surprised to see some of the Landcare Okareka Volunteers out around the area undertaking this work over the next few months.
I wish all of the Landcare Okareka volunteers and supporters a safe and happy Christmas season. We will see everyone at Lake Okareka working bees in the New Year 2015!