A landscape ecologist identified a site at Richards Beach as being suitable for ecological restoration with a range of habitats present.
The visible and highly used public site is located on the edge of the Kawarau Arm of Lake Dunstan on the Cromwell to Bannockburn pathway. The site is near a public car park to access the pathway and was overgrown by exotic weed species with some native species identified but struggling to compete.
A list of suitable species was selected and the inaugural planting day was held on May 21 with 21 volunteers planting 160 plants. A further planting of 80 plants was undertaken on July 16 involving 14 people. The native plants have been positioned amongst the existing vegetation which will provide shelter from wind and sun and will assist in the plants establishment. Rabbit netting has been installed around vulnerable plants and a water system is being devised for the summer dry period.
In future, the exotic vegetation will be slowly removed and the native plants will provide habitat for native fauna.
The landscape plan for Richards Beach allows for considerable more plantings and it will be some years before the site is fully developed to the extent of the plan.
Supporters: Te Kākano Aotearoa Trust, Haehaeata Natural Heritage Trust and the Otago Polytech.
Our new area planted in 2018 and 2019 can be found at the 45th Parallel car park just north of the Lowburn bridge. It is bounded by State Highway 6 and Lake Dunstan. The new cycle trail goes alongside it.
We planted typical dryland shrubs and grasses, along with mountain flax and a few trees set well back from the road. They have done very well with a high survival rate.
We have had to rabbit net most of the 650 plants and we are carrying out a watering programme over summer.
We were fortunate in securing funding from Trustpower Lend-a-Hand and Otago Regional Council’s Ecofund, along with a generous plant and wind-netting donation from individuals.