March Newsletter

Hello to all
The summer / autumn rains have been excellent for native tree seed production. For example I have seen both totara and kahikatea trees almost orange / red due to the huge berry abundance. There is no current shortage of food for the birds.
There is much to report.
1    AGM / Next Meeting

We will be having an AGM on April 11th, 7.30pm at Pukeoware School. This is a week later than planned. We will have a topic of interest for the evening that will be advised and all are welcome. At the meeting we will be looking to elect at least a Coordinator and Treasurer along with committee members. We will also have available some initial results to view with the Chew Cards we are trialling for monitoring of possums and rats. All Welcome.
2    Paid Secretary Position
A brief for this position is enclosed. Anyone interested please contact Andrew Sinclair, Ph 2363647 or Barry Smith, Ph 2355220. It is for a fixed term of 12 months, starting April 1st, $2,000 and is a contract position. At a recent committee meeting attended by Clive Sinclair, Peter Sarah, Dave Puflett, Barry Smith, Paula Crosswell and Andrew Sinclair the position was approved with potentially adding excellent value to the long term future of our Landcare Group. It will ideally suit a person who has a strong interest in Landcare combined with good communication, internet / computer skills and organsiation ability.

3    Whakaupoko Landcare Structure Change
At the coming AGM I will be proposing that we change our structure to have a formal link with Patumahoe Village Incorporated. This is to share in the benefits of for example a website and publishing local newsletters while still retaining some of the individuality of each group. It is also to provide the opportunity to attain and Incorporated status that is important for obtaining funding with many providers only funding Incorporated Societies and Charitable Trusts. (While currently we have a good level of funds this will not remain without ongoing funding sources). Our current status is a Registered Charity. It does not limit our boundary to the Patumahoe area. . Currently Patumahoe Village is establishing a website that we can be part of. Also they are planning to have quarterly print & email newsletters. I have investigated the option with Paula Crosswell and Glenn Hunter and it appears one option is for our Landcare Group to come under the umbrella of Patumahoe Village as a group / division. This would need to be approved at an AGM. It would also be dependant on Patumahoe Village Inc accepting our request and for them to make a couple of small changes to their constitution at their own agm so that they also can become a registered charity. There may be other options and we wouldd welcome any input from people on this.
4    Bait Time

With the cooler weather rats & mice will be looking for buildings to occupy. Also there is an abundance of food so they will be reproducing fast. Keep up the bait and if you have run out visit Wallace or give him a call.
5    Raglan
Peter Hardy, Clive Sinclair, Luke Sinclair and Andrew Sinclair attended an excellent Fielday at Raglan run by Waikato Biodiversity Forum. There were some presentations on:
a    The latest with poison & trapping options by DOC staff
b    Monitoring Options for pests, birds and native trees by DOC staff
c    Local presentation of their pest control and revegetation initiative
d    Bat presentation including local monitoring. (Of interest is that a small handheld echo locator only costs aroundd $130). It appears bats are more common than many people think being found in 7 of 12 monitored sites in the city of Hamilton. Also in our own Landcare area we are aware of bats having been present in at least 6 sites.
Our use of Brodifacaum bait is very good with its multi purpose kill of rats & possums however the likes of DOC do not use this bait due to it’s persistance in the environment. There is no silver bullet and it is important that we are kept up to date with all the options.
6    EW Northern Region Pest Committee Report
Last month there was an excellent meeting That was attended by both myself and Stuart Muir. EW are continuing to achieve as much as possible with pest control with their limited resources. There was a presentation re Bio Control agents. There are some interesting devlopments that will hopefully shortly affect us.
Wooly Nightshade
A new bio control agent for Wooly Nightshade has just been released in several sites including towards Port Waikato. It is a Lace bug insect and initial results are that it is reproducing extremely rapidly and causing a good amount of damage to it’s host. It is expected these will be liberated more widely next spring provided they survive well in the winter. In the mean time we ask that all members make sure all large Wooly Nightshade producing viable seed are eliminated.
Wandering Dew
There is a new Bio control agent for wandering dew that is about to be released. I think it is a fungus. Again this sounds promising as in it’s native country wandering dew is nowehere near as healthy as it is in much of the bush in this area.
There is a friendly beetle a bit like a vegetable bug that has been released and that likes eating all thistle species including Californian Thistles. While it is unlikely that this bug will demolish thistles it is hoped it will be another weapon in the armoury.
It is a lengthy process to have a bio control agent identified, approved and released that spans well over 5 years and up to 10 years. This is because it is absolutely vital that any introduced organism does not have any negative impact on native plant and animal species.
7    Free Trees
Peter Sarah, Dave Puflett and Clive Sinclair are gathering together an excellent supply of free native trees for members to access and benefit from. Supplies will be limited and details will follow shortly. It is expected that trees will be made available earlier this year with the excellent rainfalls we have had so if you have an area in mind get ready. Those interested in sourcing trees should contact Dave (2363043) or Clive (2356031)
8 Bird Survey
There is one planned for the first week of the school holidays. We will discuss at the AGM if we should stay with this April date or revert to the usual month of march when this has been carried out most times in the past.
Best wishes

Andrew Sinclair

Ph: +64 9 2363647