Benefits of conservation and recreation in Jobs for Nature

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(Friday, September 17, 2021) The Fiordland Trails Trust is excited to embark on a three-year project under the government’s Jobs for Nature initiative that will expand and improve Fiordland’s trail system, create jobs and lead to huge conservation gains in the region.

The Fiordland Trails Trust is responsible for the Lake 2 Lake Trail; a multi-use trail that runs from Te Anau to Manapouri (except a 4 km stretch of the State Highway). He has always had the ambition to develop a trail from Te Anau to Te Anau Downs and now, with funding from the Jobs for Nature program, is able to start this work, alongside a host of other conservation projects. within the trail network.

The $ 973,000 Jobs for Nature funded project will include a major weed control, predator control and native planting program along the Lake 2 Lake Trail and in the Delta region. of the Upukerora River. It will create jobs for 15 full-time equivalents over time (around 50 seasonal part-time positions) and allow the Trust to start stages one and two of the Te Anau Trail to Te Anau Downs (a co-funded part of the project).

Fiordland Trails Trust spokesperson John Greaney said the project was extremely positive for the Fiordland region.

“We are delighted that, through Jobs for Nature, we can support employment in Fiordland with results that will have continued and long-term benefits for locals and visitors,” he said.

“The extension of the trail will be great. Within three years, the trail is expected to extend to Patience Bay and Sinclair Road. Indeed, this will form stages one and two of the Te Anau Trail to Te Anau Downs, which is a long term goal for the Trust. “

“The weed and predator control program, as well as the planting of native species along the existing Lake 2 trail and in the Upukerora Delta area, will not only be fantastic for the biodiversity of the region, but will really enhance the recreational experience. “

The overall project consists of five sub-projects, which will be managed simultaneously. They understand:

  • Noxious weed control (gorse and broom) in an existing Lake 2 Lake trail corridor and new trail extension
  • Improved plantation with selected natives on the lake 2 corridor of the lake, to help control erosion, improve visual appeal and promote native fauna
  • On the lower delta of the Upukerora river
  • a program for the clearing of exotic species, replacement and enhancement by native plant species and their maintenance
  • a predator control program over an area of ​​345 ha, to protect the nesting areas of rare and braided river birds on the delta and the river bed
  • Restoration of the Patience Bay wetland
  • Improving the habitat of braided river birds by removing weeds from the river bed
  • The installation of interpretive panels on the trail network
  • A 6 km extension of the existing trail network through partial funding of stages one and two of the Te Anau Trail to Te Anau Downs

Waka Kotahi offered support at the start of the project and has already fully funded and completed a road bridge over the Upukerora River.

The Fiordland Trails Trust partnered with the Lower Upukerora Restoration Group (LURG) which provided the framework for biodiversity improvements. LURG representative Vanessa Horwell said biodiversity improvements focus on protecting the rare and endangered braided river birds that nest in the Upukerora River and Delta region, including the striped fruit bat. Nationally Vulnerable, the Endangered Laughing Tern and the Nationally Critical Black-billed Gull, as well as other species such as the South Island Oystercatcher and the Stilt of foot.

“The proposed predator trapping network and weed control will increase the chances of successful reproduction of these river birds by providing clear areas of the riverbed for nesting and reducing predators that prey on the eggs. , chicks and nesting birds, ”said Vanessa.

“The extensive native plantations along the Upukerora River and in the Patience Bay wetland will provide habitat and food for native birds and invertebrates, and weed control in the riverbed will provide nesting sites. suitable for river birds. “

John says: “The project is a true partnership between the Department of Conservation, the Fiordland Trails Trust, the Lower Upukerora Restoration Group and the local Fiordland community, with everyone working together and collaboratively to support the initiative.

“We are really excited about the benefits for Fiordland and look forward to keeping the community informed as the work progresses. “

Work is expected to begin soon on the deforestation of exotic trees in the Upukerora River Delta area to initiate the native planting project, and construction of the trail will also begin soon.

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