Fund­ing help to hit weeds

Te Puke Times - - NEWS - By STU­ART WHI­TAKER news@tepuke­

Na­tive plants will be given a fight­ing chance, thanks to one of the grants made through this year’s Western Bay of Plenty District Coun­cil Com­mu­nity Match­ing Fund.

A grant of $6000 has been made to the group be­hind the con­tin­u­ing restora­tion of the Ko­tuku­tuku Gully in Maketu¯.

“We’ve got quite a ma­jor weed prob­lem there, and have had for our whole ex­is­tence,” says co­or­di­na­tor Lauri Rus­sell.

“We are try­ing to bring it un­der con­trol and we are slowly getting there, but this will be a huge boost for us.”

The money means the group will be able to em­ploy a con­trac­tor to “to get re­ally stuck into the weeds”.

“They know what they are do­ing and can ap­ply the best meth­ods to the sit­u­a­tion and have all the li­cences and every­thing that we as vol­un­teers don’t nec­es­sar­ily have.”

Lauri says she hopes once the work has been done, vol­un­teers will be able to keep on top of the re­growth.

“Weed con­trol of any sort if al­ways a ma­jor is­sue for any restora­tion block, but par­tic­u­larly when you are deal­ing with pest weeks like blue morn­ing glory, ginger and trades­cantia.”

What was an over­grown, junk-filled gully in Maketu¯ has been trans­formed at the hands of the vol­un­teers into a walk­way that takes pride of place within the vil­lage.

The Ko­tuku­tuku Gully opened in 2010 af­ter a three-year restora­tion by lo­cal res­i­dents, led by the late Trevor Hughes and with the bless­ing of landown­ers Te Arawa Lakes Trust.

Te Whakakaha Con­ser­va­tion Trust re­ceived $10,000 from the com­mu­nity match­ing fund. The trust looks af­ter Otawa Sanc­tu­ary, home of the rare Otawa Hochstet­ter’s frog.

Trea­surer Barry Galpin says the trust is in­volved in on­go­ing restora­tion of the area.

“There’s a lot of wild­ing pine trees in there that we have to poi­son and a ma­jor prob­lem with a cul­vert which is go­ing to have to be un­locked and re­paired and its quite a dif­fi­cult one.

He says the money from the match­ing fund will be a great help to the trust’s work.

DWARFED by weeds — Jim and Lauri Rus­sell of the Ko­tuku­tuku Gully pro­ject in Maketu¯.

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