In June we undertook a further planting at DOC beach and camp off Millar Road. This planting was on a very wet day but 200 plants were put in. Many of the plants had plastic netting cages built around them to protect them from rabbit and wallaby browsing. We also spread mulch which was delivered to the site by Peter Harding.
July's planting was at the DOC Reserve at Tikitapu. This was in conjunction with Forest and Bird volunteers. 50 plants were put in, with individual protective cages made for them. Also a massive litter pick up was undertaken around the edges of both grassed reserves – a total of 18 sacks of rubbish and 4 large woven seed sacks of bottles were collected. Chris and Helen Russell recycled the bottles.
August – was a very busy month. A local resident, Guy Gaddum (Gaddum Construction) offered his digger and driver at no charge, to mulch and clear a large part of Okareka Scenic Reserve, and take down some large eucalypts on the corner of Summit and Loop Roads, above the sewerage pump station. Landcare Okareka volunteers had been working in this area, spraying weeds and brush cutting in preparation for a planting this year.
Around the same time Joby Barham, Landscape architect for Rotorua District Council approached us about undertaking some beautification work around the pump station. After an on site meeting with some of the locals, it was decided to pool our resources, with the sewerage scheme funding the staining of the timber fence and providing 925 plants. Bay of Plenty Regional Council once again supplied plants – 450 this time – to the Landcare group for habitat enhancement work. These were added to the RDC plants to go into the reserve around and above the pump station.
The donation of 2 days of machine work by Gaddum Construction and his operator Steve was extremely generous and made a huge difference to the project. What we thought would be at least 5 years of hard labour was completed in short order.
The planting day was well supported with 23 adult volunteers and some children. We were happy to have our new BOPRC Landcare liaison officer Roz Hensman also present on the day. An early start was made by some volunteers to lay out plants ahead of the planters. I am pleased to report that even with a 30 minutes morning tea break the job was completed by 11.30 am. Well done to everyone involved.Several locals have approached Landcare Okareka committee with a suggestion of creating a walking track off the road from Ridge Road corner down to the bus shelter, through the new planting areas. There are quite a few children who walk down Summit Road to catch the school bus, as well as recreational walkers, who would use this track also. Summit Road is very narrow in places and has a blind corner as well, so for safety reasons Landcare thought this would be a desirable outcome.
We have contacted Clark McCarthy RDC Parks and Recreation and are awaiting an on site meeting with him to discuss this further.
The September Working Bee is another planting for DOC at the Tikitapu Reserve, near the Nature Walk. This will once again be a joint planting with Forest & Bird volunteers. DOC have had an area fenced off with netting, and we will be planting half of the area this year – 350 plants.
Helen Russell continues to do a great job keeping the Okareka walkway toilets cleaned once a week. Volunteers from Landcare Okareka continue to do all kinds of work, in their own time apart from organised Working Bees – such as trimming vegetation along track, litter pick up, possum control, general weed control.
The electronic track counter on the walkway has been re- installed, as for some time it has not been working very well. Hopefully it will now give us a more accurate count of people using the walkway.
It is pleasing to see that the lake level has dropped a bit. The walkway was extremely wet and muddy, especially from the end of the boardwalk to the “the point”. Landcare Okareka have approached RDC about the possibility of extending the boardwalk further through the very wet areas, rather than raising the track with gravel in this area. This would seem to be a better long term solution, especially if we have continuing high lake levels. Once again we are waiting for a response from RDC.
As always we welcome any enquiries, comments, suggestions and offers of help from residents.