Landcare Okareka volunteers maintained all existing plantings along the Lake Okareka Walkway, around the Lake Okareka settlement, within the Lake Tikitapu Scenic Reserve and the Lake Okareka Scenic Reserve. This involves a lot of walking and weed control work and a determined spirit to keep the weed sat bay.
A highlight this year was the planting of 1500 plants at the Working Bee held in the perimeter of the Lake Tarawera transfer station. This was a combined effort of volunteers from Landcare Okareka, Lake Okareka Community Assn, Lake Tarawera Landcare group, and Rotorua branch of Forest & Bird. Bay of Plenty Regional Council helped to organise the plants and their delivery and staff from BOPRC also came to help plant. This planting was a requirement of the resource consent for the transfer station. Original clearing of weeds and on going maintenance of this whole area is partly funded from the LOCA agreement with RLC to manage the overnight campers at Boyes beach.
Another highlight for the Landcare Okareka volunteers was to go in and plant areas adjacent to the new Lake Okareka Community Walking Track from Boyes beach to the DOC camp.
Landcare Okareka holds a Biodiversity Management Agreement for the Lake Okareka catchment with Bay of Plenty Regional Council. LO also holds a MOU with Rotorua District Council and another with Department of Conservation. These agreements allow Landcare Okareka to hold a permit to trap animal pests in the riparian areas around the lake. There are now going to be 100 traps (DOC 200 and 250's) and boxes available (LOCA has recently funded some more from the DOC camp money) and there are 4 teams of volunteers working on this project. Recently several ferrets have been caught.
It is hoped that Landcare Okareka volunteers will be able to assist DOC with wasp poisoning on DOC managed reserves around Lake Okareka. This is using the new Vespex bait which the wasps take back to their nests. Hopefully the weather conditions will come right - and the wasps will switch to feeding on protein. If this new method works it will make it much easier to control wasps where the nests cannot be found in the bush. In the meantime, LO volunteer Mike Goodwin can still come and deal to any wasp nests that you can find.
We are continuing to have issues with Rotorua Lakes Council with several items related to the Lake Okareka Walkway. The mowing by contractor Rotorua Contracting has been extremely erratic over the past 12 months. This has improved recently with the person who used to do the mowing back on the job. Maybe the details of the mowing of the Lake Okareka Walkway actually need to be recorded somewhere to pass onto any new person who may be supervising and actually doing the work. The roofs on the toilets and the shade shelter both require replacement.
The large flaxes growing on the fence line between the walkway track and the Playne's farm are still an ongoing issue. They were supposed to have been removed last summer and that did not happen. Not sure when anything will happen this summer. The last item is the state of the boardwalks on this walkway. They are now past their fifteen year lifespan (built in 2001), especially the first section to just past the bird hide, which has no middle stringer underneath to support the boards. Added to this is the deep grooved machined profile and poor grade of timber used to construct the boardwalk none of which has helped with the durability of the boardwalks.
Landcare Okareka continues to hold a supply of rat bait (Ditrac) from BOPRC, under the Biodiversity Management Plan which is available to property owners in the Okareka settlement who have their own bait stations (see Rat Bait Article in Newsletter). This programme supports the Forest & Bird animal pest control project in Lake Tikitapu Scenic Reserve to protect mistletoe - and birds that spread the seed.
Landcare Okareka is pleased to report that Bay of Plenty Regional Council have accepted the Millar Road wetland area, adjacent to the new Lake Okareka Community Walking Track, into the Bay of Plenty regional wetland monitoring programme.
Landcare Okareka volunteers hope to spend more time in the future working in the Millar Road wetland area restoring the wetland by removing pests - both animal and plant - under guidance from both Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Department of Conservation. See article on page 38.
Thank you to everyone who has helped as a volunteer with or as a supporter of Landcare Okareka over the past 12 months. I look forward to working with all of the LO volunteers over the coming year.