Significant Wetland Restoration Project Completes First Milestone

The Te Toke wetlands, located approximately 20 km north of Taupo on the banks of the Waikato River have been the subject of a restoration funding project planned to be implemented over three years.

The Te Toke wetland comprises a series of five vegetation associations located on tribal lands and is relatively large by local remnant standards, totalling approximately 28 hectares. While in relatively good condition it has, nevertheless, suffered over the years from invasion of a number of exotic weeds, predominantly crack willow S.fragilis, grey willow S.cinerea, scattered "old man" pines, some deciduous hardwoods (rowan & cherry), blackberry and other adventive weeds. There is a further eight hectares of depleted grasslands that could be amenable to future active restoration planting.

Restoration of the wetland will follow a management plan created by Wildlands Consultants Ltd and has been planned to occur in three distinct phases each year, ending June 2016. The first phase, which has been completed, was to control an area of dense multi-stemmed grey willow trees and saplings. The next phase will be to control a further area of willow as well as approximately seven hectares of mature wilding pine, flowering cherry, rowan and some further sapling pines and willows.

The objective of the project is to restore areas of exotic non-productive and invasive weed species to indigenous vegetation that is consistent with naturally occurring habitats likely to be present in the area prior to human influences.

A Wildlands Consultants employee creates cuts in a willow stem to be treated with dye herbicide (left). The green dye enables visual confirmation of herbicide application (right).