The next event is this Sunday at 10 am. The ranger has asked that we do work on the southern coast, particularly removing any poppies that might flower in spring. We’ll also check the pingao that we planted, remove any new rubbish, and expand some of our “no weed” areas.
The river mouth is closed, so we will meet at the coastal carpark and walk from there. Mark will bring the necessary tools, gloves, etc, but if you have gardening gloves you like, bring them along.
The forecast is looking good – sunshine, light winds. But you never can tell, so pack a jacket and the sunscreen. We’ll have some snacks, but bring a drink and lunch, and we’ll have that somewhere nice like the climbing rocks. This will be a good trip for kids, provided they can cope with an hour or so of walking on loose sand.
If you can come, please let Mark know mark [period] mcalpine [snail] gw [period] govt [period] nz and give him your cellphone number so he can text any updates.
If you need or can offer a ride, let Mark know. And don’t forget to persuade your friends – this is a great chance to have a day at the beach while the weather is still benign.
Planting This will be done on 11 June and 9 July. Spot spraying is about to start, and then we’ll do pre-digging just before the events. We’ll be planting a lot of the riverbank area, where gorse control has already been completed. Although this will be easier than last year (no nets in particular), we will still need a good turn-out of volunteers to get them all in the ground.
Three-year biodiversity plan We have now agreed our second three year plan for biodiversity work with the GW biodiversity and parks staff. Much of the work is continuing what we started in the first three years – running the trapping lines, controlling rodents around lizard sites, eradicating horned poppies, planting the river. And then making the most of what has been completed, like the fencing and stock removal. But we also hope to start some new work, including re-introducing some plants that have been lost and restoring the inanga spawning site. So we are looking forward to an exciting few years. We have funding available for much of the work, but several of the projects and the rate of work on things like gorse control will only happen if we can raise additional funds or significantly increase volunteer hours.
Lighthouse work We are closer to starting work on the houses, and it is now just a matter of exactly when, not if. We have also agreed to implement some of the interpretation ideas provided by the Massey students.
Hope to see you Sunday
Regards Paula Warren, Chair, Friends of Baring Head
Dear wonderful volunteers
It’s planting season again, and we have decided to start early and get the island in the river planted before it floods. Assuming it hasn’t flooded before Sunday.
So Sunday we will fertilise the plants along the lower river, plant the island, clean the pumphouse, and replace a board that has rotted out and do any other repairs that are needed. And inspect last year’s plantings and anything else we feel like on the day. The forecast is looking good, so it should be a nice day exploring the river.
Meeting 10am at the bridge carpark. Come prepared to get your feet in the river. Please let Mark know (Mark.email@example.com) if you can come, so I can ensure there is enough cake and tools. I think it might be cake and fruit salad this month – make the most of the end of the summer fruit season. If you need or can offer a ride out, let Mark know.
The events after that will be doing the serious planting work. 14 May, 11 June, 9 July.
The spot spraying will happen soon, and the holes will be dug before each event when we know how many people we will have and what we can get in. Mark and I will then lay out the plants so we are sure the right plant goes in the right place. And we’ll only get as many plants from the nursery on the day as we are sure of getting in. We don’t have huge numbers of plants this year, but we will need good numbers of volunteers for each event to get them in. The good news is that we won’t be bothering with the hare nets. So please put at least one of the dates in your diary and bring along some friends. And if you have a group that would like to do a planting event (e.g. scouts), we can potentially do an event on a day that suits them.
Other news We are very close to starting some real work on the lighthouse houses. We have some funds to pay for the detailed work planning and consent work, and have almost finalized how that will be done. And then we can finally start the physical work. As you can imagine, the trustees are feeling really excited about this. It’s hard to remember that a few years ago we were still worrying that they might be demolished.
And in the meantime we will do some work on the landscaping. We have agreed that we will put a native plants garden up there, with labelled plants so people can get to know both some of the dominant grey scrub plants, and see some of the rare plants that are now represented by only a few individuals hiding out in places the sheep couldn’t reach.
We have also finalized an overall plan for the biodiversity work for the next few years, with a vision for each part of the park. We are now pricing that ready for the next round of fundraising and GW business planning. Looking at what has been achieved so far has reinforced for us just how much work the volunteers have done in a relatively short space of time. I’m sure we’ll achieve even more over the next three years.
Paula Warren, Chair, Friends of Baring Head
We’ve now set the programme of events for the next few months.
The next event is on 12 February. The current plan (which may change if there is another strong northerly) is to do various jobs, including cutting weeds around the plantings by the river and putting stencilled lighthouses over the tagging on the concrete blocks in the old DOC carpark at the coast. Or maybe remove the dotterel fence if the chicks are old enough. Meet at the coastal carpark at 10am. We’ll have all the equipment, tea, coffee and morning tea. As usual, if you can come let Mark know – firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you need a ride out, or can offer a ride, let him know that.
12 March If we haven’t already done so, we’ll remove the dotterel fence. Alternatively, we’ll wash down the pumphouse, remove the nets from around last year’s plantings and do any other jobs in the valley.
We also hope to run an evening walk in late March. We’ll probably repeat a walk we did last year that proved popular – walking from the carpark over to Fitzroy Bay, looking at geomorphology and geology on the way. We’ll pick an evening when there is a low tide so we can explore all the beach.
9 April Probably working up at the lighthouse. By then we will hopefully have a plan for the first stage of the work on the houses, and we will certainly have a plan for the gardens. One suggestion from a visitor that we will pick up on is to put a rare plants garden in at the lighthouse, so visitors can meet some of the special plants that Baring Head is home to.
14 May We’ll be getting ready for the planting season. We have a lot of plants to get in this year, but the good news is that contractors will be planting the difficult sites and we get river bank where the digging is easy. We also get to plant the little island this year, which should be fun (as long as the river is low of course). So this event will be mostly digging and doing other work ready for the two planting days.
11 June and 9 July Planting days.
Update on the work We had to cancel the January event due to weather – something that happens surprisingly rarely. But while the unusually wet summer hasn’t made the beach great for people, it does mean we don’t have to water the plants this year. The grass is still green and there is good growth on the plants that have been protected from stock browsing by the new fences.
If you haven’t been out lately, you may not be aware that we have now fenced off all the river edge, a lot of the river flats, much of the valley escarpment, the wetlands in Fitzroy Bay, and a patch of coastal vegetation at the southern end of Fitzroy Bay. Contractors have also done a lot of gorse control in parts of the valley and on the escarpment. So we have a lot of sites now ready for planting. It will be interesting to see the way the vegetation changes now that the sheep are out.
We are continuing to run the trapping lines – Colin got 5 possums on Saturday on his line – and there are also bait stations now to reduce mice in the key lizard areas. Mark reports that none of the plantings have been browsed, so the possum control is working.
On Sunday we braved the wind and did a poppy patrol in Fitzroy Bay. Many thanks to Kate for joining Mark and me. I walked from where the road meets the beach nearly as far as the private land, and only got a few hundred plants and about five with flowers. There were some denser patches at each end of the beach, but we grubbed out most of them, and few were flowering. So we really have cracked that problem, and I hope that next summer it will just be a matter of a nice walk along the beach in early December and again in February to ensure nothing gets to produce seed. And we found very little rubbish.
Less pleasing was the vehicle damage on some parts of the beach. This has to be the result of people who have a key to the gate choosing to go off the road. The Friends will be asking GW to tackle the problem. Inside our new beach fence the old vehicle tracks are starting to be colonised by native plants. It only takes one vehicle to prevent seedlings from establishing and kill sensitive plants like Raoulia (vegetable sheep) cushions.
On Saturday I spent a few hours clearing lupins from the area near the climbing rocks. We had started this job in a working bee last year, and the areas cleared then are still clear – I removed very few small lupins, and I suspect that most of those were just missed because they were smaller and among other plants. We now have a large area there which has almost no weeds of any sort – just native grasses and cushion plants. And those are rapidly filling in the gaps. With your help we can keep expanding those clear areas. We will put some temporary fences around some cleared areas to keep the sheep out, and start reintroducing some of the coastal plants that are missing from the area, or only found hiding on the rocks. The climbing rocks area is a great place to while away a summer morning. I alternated weeding with picnicking in the shade of the rocks, beachcombing, and talking to some of the many visitors enjoying the perfect weather. The sea was calm, the tide out, and I got to explore some of the coast that is normally inaccessible.
Thanks again to those who helped out last year. How much we can do is entirely dependent on how many volunteer hours we can put in. So we are really grateful to those of you who can come out. We appreciate that it is a long way to travel, so if there is anything we can do to make volunteering easier for you, let me know.
Paula Chair Friends of Baring Head
We have now set the work plan for the next two months.
14 January The official guided walk. Thanks to the people who have volunteered – we do now have enough people to cover this. If you know anyone who might be interested in participating, encourage them to book:
29 January We will walk through all of Fitzroy Bay and remove any poppies that were missed last year. Meet at bridge carpark at 10am. Don’t forget the sunscreen and hat – with luck it will be a lovely day on the beach. We’ll be mostly walking in loose beach gravel, so good walking shoes recommended.
12 February Depending on which way the wind is blowing and how dry it has got, we will be either having a nice day at the beach near the climbing rocks, clearing more of the area we are targeting there. Or watering and mulching last year’s plants if that seems vital. Meet at the bridge carpark at 10am.
House repairs We are also sorting out some work for people with carpentry training, as we have a volunteer keen to start work on the buildings. If you want to be involved in that and have skills, let me know. That can either happen on one of the working bee dates, or we can set a date specifically for that work.
As usual, if you can come please let Mark know: email@example.com. If you need or can offer a lift out, let him know.
We had a great year of volunteer activity last year. Thanks in anticipation of another great year.
Paula Chair Friends of Baring Head
Sunday 16 October. We’ll meet at the bridge carpark at 10am. The plan is to clear poppies from parts of the southern beach. How we get to the site will depend on what the river is doing on the day. If it is closed we’ll drive down to the coastal carpark and walk from there. If it is open we’ll walk down the valley, or Mark will drive us to near the site.
Please let Mark know if you can come, so he can ensure we have the right equipment. If you want to come and need transport, or if you can offer transport, please email Mark, (Mark.McAlpine@gw.govt.nz).
Being Spring at Baring Head, please bring clothes suitable for all possibilities. On a recent outing I got sunburnt and was hot in a t-shirt. But on another outing I needed my heavy coat. Strong footwear strongly recommended.
Dotterel fence We had a great volunteer day – lots of people, lots of sun, not much wind, and lots of dotterels. The fence was up by lunchtime, despite the leisurely morning tea break, and we then did some rubbish removal and lupin weeding and beachcombing and went home nice and early. One of the trappers reported that he thought he had seen some dotterel chicks on a recent visit, which would be very fast work by the parents. I’m hoping to get an ornithologist out there this weekend to see what they are up to.
AGM We had a successful AGM. The one significant outcome was that Joy Baird has unfortunately resigned as our chair – she now has other calls on her time that meant she didn’t feel able to continue. The AGM recognized with gratitude her role in helping to turn the Friends into a successful organization during its first five years. I was elected as chair, Colin continues as Treasurer, and we will need to find a new secretary.
We need more trustees We have a lot of exciting activities coming up, and need a bigger pool of trustees to help keep things moving. We are also particularly in need of people with skills in website management and social media work – as trustees or just as volunteers leading those particular functions. If any of you might be interested, or know someone who would be, please get in touch.
Post-AGM talk on the Wainuiomata catchment initiative Melody McLauchlin from the Rimutaka Forest Park Trust outlined the work that is underway to connect the work of various organisations, including FOBH, into an overall programme to improve the river and the biodiversity in the valley. There is a limit to what we can do at the bottom of the catchment if the rest of the catchment is generating weeds, floods, pollution, etc. So we are very keen to help create this wider project.
Work plan for biodiversity We and GW have agreed the work plan for the next year. Key roles for us will be to stop the horned poppies from setting seed and gradually eliminate them; get some parts of the coast relatively weed free; and plant another 3-4000 plants along the river edge. Key projects for GW staff and contractors include spraying the marram on the southern coast; following up the boxthorn control; and completing gorse removal from the escarpment.
Work plan for the lighthouse complex We now have full agreement on what we are aiming to achieve, and in what order the work will be done. This will be an expensive project, so how quickly this happens will depend on whether the Friends can raise significant money for the work. In the short term we will be aiming to get the gardens cleaned up and re-planted.
Paula For the trustees 021 101 4824
Our next event on Sunday 11 September will be putting up the dotterel fence.
Banded dotterels nest on the coast near the coastal carpark, and we put up a simple warratah and string fence around the nesting area each year to encourage visitors to stay away from that area, to reduce disturbance and the risk that nests will be damaged. That work, with the intensive trapping programme, has resulted in a huge increase in the number of chicks that get to fledgling stage. The birds have started to arrive for this year’s breeding season, so we need to get the fence up.
The work involves carrying the fence pieces (posts, warratahs and rope) to the site below the coastal carpark, and then helping the ranger get the posts into the sand and the rope strung along them. So there will be jobs for strong people who can carry heavy items, and for kids who can help lay out the ropes. If we have capacity, we’ll also do a rubbish clean-up along that part of the coast, and hopefully also paint over the tagging on the concrete blocks in the old DOC carpark.
We’ll meet at 10am at the coastal carpark. We’ll finish early afternoon, but you can come for as short or long a period as you like. If you know you are coming, please let Mark know (Mark.McAlpine@gw.govt.nz). If you need a ride out, let him know and we’ll see what we can arrange. If you can offer a ride to someone else, let him know.
We’ll have gloves available, but if you have gardening gloves bring those. Bring your lunch, but we’ll have tea and coffee and some snacks. We have had bright sunshine for the recent events, but depending on the weather you might need a coat or sunscreen or both. If it is a strong northerly, wear trousers and long sleeves to avoid being sand blasted.
The event will happen almost regardless of weather, but if it is cancelled I’ll put that on the Friends facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Friends-of-Baring-Head-148506125227491/, and Mark will email anyone who has contacted him.
The October event will be on Sunday 16 October. We’ll probably be working on the south coast on horned poppies, but will decide closer to the time.
Paula 021 101 4824
We have made one change to the calendar, affecting the next event. We realised that we had scheduled the planting day for Queens Birthday weekend, and it would be better to shift it to the following Sunday, June 12.
This will be the major planting day of the year, and we will try to have the holes pre-dug so we can get a lot of plants (all the plants?) in on that day. So we’ll need lots of people. So even if you can only come for a short period, every little bit will help.
There will be updates on our Facebook page closer to the event. If you can’t easily use Facebook, let me know and I’ll email the updates to you.
We will also have some days mid-week ahead of the planting when we’ll be out there doing preparatory work. So if you would like to help, let me know.
Paula Warren For the trustees 021 101 4824
At this stage, unless the weather does something unexpected, we will be focusing on poppies and other weed control on the southern coast. The rain just doesn’t seem to be arriving, so planting is obviously not going to happen as early as we had hoped.
Our primary aim will be to remove all the remaining weeds from the spinifex edge of the southern coast. We’ve been focusing on that area on previous work days, and there aren’t many weeds left in there, except a big patch of marram grass that the ranger will spray at the right time of the year. But there are a few lupins, box thorn and other things that need loppers/poison treatment. The spinifex is expanding back towards the escarpment, and has flowered well this year. So by the end of this coming work day, we should have just native vegetation along the edge of most of the beach.
Other than that what we work on will depend a bit on how many volunteers we get and what people want to do.
It would be good to send a couple of people along Fitzroy Bay to take out any poppies that have come up since we last cleared it. Apart from the private land block, we have pretty much achieved eradication (in the sense of no plants producing seed) along the bay. With the permission of those landowners we have extended our programme towards Eastbourne into the Maori land block, so there is a buffer between the poppies on that part of the beach and what we have cleared. So we want to make sure that any more plants the come up are taken out before they flower. Surveillance along the bay is now a fun job for anyone who wants an excuse for a long walk on the beach. When we have the ranger with a vehicle, it can be done from the north or the south depending on the wind direction. But if anyone wants to volunteer to do that as an independent activity on another day, just let me know.
At both ends of the southern coast we have cleared most of the poppies on previous outings. But there’s still a nice big patch in the middle of virgin, dense infestation. The aim for 2016 is to get all that area cleared of old plants, so in December removing anything with flowers along the whole coast will be feasible. Hopefully we can clear a bit more of that on the 8th.
We did a beach clean-up last time we were out there. So on the 8th we will put in another beach clean-up station like the one we have in Fitzroy Bay, so walkers can drop rubbish off for the ranger to collect, rather than having to carry it all the way back to the carpark. We don’t seem to get a lot of new rubbish coming up, so if we can persuade the people who use that area to pick up a few bits on their way through, we should be able to keep the problem under control.
If you know you can come, please email me so we can ensure there are enough tools and morning tea. If you need more information ring me on 4713118 (work) or 021 101 4824. If you need a ride (from Woburn station), that can probably be arranged.
Looking forward to seeing lots of keen volunteers on the 8th
Thanks to those who came last Sunday. We had just enough people to get two important jobs done – removing the dotterel fence and loading the trailer with the results of the corporate group beach clean-up.
This Sunday we’ll be working on the historic buildings – washing down the pumphouse and then doing some more work on the lighthouse complex grounds. To make real progress we need lots of volunteers, so make the most of the continuing fine weather by coming out. And as an added incentive, the ranger will ferry people up to the lighthouse, so a good chance to enjoy that area without a long walk.
We’ll meet at the bridge carpark at 10am. As usual, if you know you can come, send an email to Mark or me to let us know. That way we can put in enough tools, buy enough cake, etc. But if you decide to come out at the last minute, we’d still love to see you.
Hoping to see you on Sunday Paula Warren For the trustees 021 101 4824
The weather is looking good, so we’ll take down the dotterel fence and pile the rubbish that was collected by the Z energy group onto the trailer for removal. So it should be a nice day at the beach, and you’ll have plenty of time to do a bit of beachcombing or sit and watch the waves. And if we have plenty of people we should be able to get some horned poppies done as well.
If you know you can come, let Mark know. If you need a ride, contact me (021 101 4824).
Meet 10am at the coastal carpark. If you are coming a bit later, you’ll easily see us working on the beach just below the carpark removing the fence.
Hope to see you Sunday.
2016 Calendar of Events
The work this year will focus on four areas:
The riverbank area has been fenced off, and stock will be removed from that area fairly soon. We need to make significant progress in planting that retired area, and have 4000 plants ready to go in near the wetlands. We hope to have the holes dug with a post-hole borer, which will make the job much faster. But our experience in earlier plantings has led to us deciding to try to get the plants mulched and watered as they go in, so they get a better start to life. So we’ll be doing some site preparation work in advance of the actual plantings.
The council has finalised general plans for the lighthouse complex, and the priority this year will be to get the grounds around the houses restored, and to weatherproof the buildings. Major works cannot proceed until funds have been raised, but we hope to at least have the funds to put in an interpretation centre and shelter for day visitors. The work on the grounds has started, and involves clearing the concrete around the buildings, restoring the rock garden in the middle of the driveway area, removing problem weeds from the grounds, and replanting areas.
We are making great progress in eradicating horned poppies from the coast. Fitzroy Bay is now largely clear (other than on the private land), but we need to do a quick walk through and remove any flowering plants about monthly over the summer. The area immediately around the climbing rocks is also fairly clear, and so are some patches of the southern coast (including all the seaward edge that has spinifex growing in it). Our focus this year will be to ensure that the cleared areas do not get any new seed, and to expand the areas that have had a first treatment.
Monitoring suggests that rubbish on the beach is relatively slow to accumulate. So we’ll get a corporate team to clear all the old rubbish on the southern beach (including a large fishing net and a number of ruined cray pots), and then we can just pick up any new materials each time we go through to do poppy control.
Many of the jobs can be easily done with no or little equipment, by individuals or groups who are out there to recreate. So if you belong to or know of a walking group, scout group, people who like going out to bike, climb or fish, or anyone else who needs an excuse to visit a wonderful place, they could easily help with these jobs. For example climbers walking in to the climbing rocks can easily pull out any new poppies from the cleared areas, or pick up any rubbish and put it where it can be collected by the ranger. Anyone who wants an excuse to get wet can remove weed from the river and put it in bags for the ranger to collect for mulching plants. Poppy checks in Fitzroy Bay are easily done by a walking group, as the flowering plants are fairly infrequent and easily spotted.
We’d also love to have a group of gardeners take over the lighthouse gardens (gate key can be provided to make access easy).
And of course if you have a club or corporate group that would like to arrange an event to suit, just get in touch with Mark (firstname.lastname@example.org).
All the events will be advertised on the Friends of Baring Head Facebook site and also the at Greater Wellington Regional Council event page http://www.gw.govt.nz/events/ . For updates, including cancellations and detailed arrangements see the Friends Facebook page.
4th March – 20 corporate volunteers. Continue removing horned poppies and rubbish between Wainuiomata River and climbing boulders. If have time continue past boulders.
27th March – FOBH working bee. Clean pump house and then head up to lighthouse and continue clearing paths and start removing weeds. Also a quick walk-over of Fitzroy Bay near road end to remove any poppies with flower heads.
3rd April – FOBH working bee. Remove dotterel fence, paint over the graffiti on the concrete blocks in the DoC carpark, and do a clean-up along that part of the coast, including removing any flowering horned poppies.
Small Mammal Monitor over 3 days. Contact Sara Moylan if you would like to be involved Sara.Moylan@gw.govt.nz .
8th May – Starting planting if the ground is wet enough. If not either planting site preparation work, or further work on the lighthouse complex gardens.
Late May – potentially a further working bee to do planting site preparation.
5th June – Planting around wetlands.
Late June – Potentially a further working bee to do planting site preparation ready for the July planting day.
3rd July - Planting around wetlands in Baring Head. Backup date of the 17th in case of bad weather or if all plants not yet in. If planting is completed before then, continue with Lighthouse complex work.
Small Mammal Monitor over 3 days. Contact Sara Moylan if you would like to be involved Sara.Moylan@gw.govt.nz .
14th August - FOBH working bee. Continue lighthouse complex work.
11th September - FOBH working bee. Install dotterel fence and signs on Baring Head beach, remove rubbish, and remove any horned poppies. BNZ stop for good - Apply and use where needed.
16th October – FOBH working bee. Horned poppy removal from southern coast and lighthouse garden work. Walk through of part of Fitzroy Bay to remove any poppies that may be able to flower before Christmas.
Possibly an additional day in late October to continue horned poppy removal from southern coast.
Small Mammal Monitor over 3 days. Contact Sara Moylan if you would like to be involved Sara.Moylan@gw.govt.nz .
13th November – FOBH working Bee. Horned poppy removal from climbing rocks end of Fitzroy Bay and cleared part of southern coast. Possibly an additional day in November to remove more horned poppies.
11th December - FOBH working bee. Horned poppy removal and beach clean-up on southern coast near river mouth. Aim is to ensure no seed can be produced, so depending on how many poppies are left, possibly focus on cutting off heads rather than digging the plants out.
Late December – walk through of Fitzroy Bay and the cleared part of southern coast to remove any new flowering plants.