Kelly’s Creek at Grovetown Lagoon is undergoing a transformation. Rob Simons from the Marlborough District Council’s biosecurity team and the team from Kūmānu Environmental are working to eradicate the willows along Kelly’s Creek (see the map below). Willows are a key weed to eradicate as they are a transformer species which alter the surrounding environment, out-competing the native species and forming dense stands along stream banks which can change the course of a waterway.
The work at Kelly’s Creek is part of a landscape-scale weed control and restoration project, Restoring and Protecting Flora, which is managed by The Nature Conservancy Aotearoa NZ (TNC NZ) through the Kotahitanga mō te Taiao Alliance. The funding for this work comes from Central Government’s Jobs for Nature, Mahi mō te Taiao program, which provides funding across multiple government agencies to benefit the environment, people and the regions as part of the COVID-19 recovery package.
Kotahitanga mō te Taiao (“Collective Action for Our Nature”) is an Alliance between 15 partners including iwi, local and central Government, which aims to get the best possible conservation outcomes for people and nature in Te Tauihu (Top of the South Island) and Buller/Kawatiri by acknowledging that conservation can go faster alone but further together. TNC NZ is the New Zealand arm of global conservation not-for-profit organisation The Nature Conservancy, and a key supporter of the Kotahitanga mō te Taiao Alliance.
The initial willow control work at Kelly’s Creek has now been completed. The work has been challenging, with boggy densely vegetated terrain and swarms of wasps, (the wasps feed off the sticky sweet excretion of the black aphid which lives on willow trees). Undertaking the willow control has revealed extensive infestations of Old Man’s Beard and Japanese honeysuckle. Work is continuing to tackle these tough climbing weeds as well as monitoring the success of the willow treatment. Follow up willow control work will be undertaken prior to the completion of the program in April 2024.