The plan to finally sort the wilding conifer problem is off to a flying start. The two-phase project led by the Arrowtown Wilding Group, a sub-group of the Arrowtown Village Association, is already well under way, with the Arrowtown Choppers making great progress in sensitive areas and the professionals clearing as many conifers from Tobins Face as they could until the government funding ran out. The Coronet Forest harvest is ready to go and will begin once QLDC have engaged a contractor.
However, work is needed to remove the trees that are spreading from German Hill and those that remain on the hill faces above the town. The AWG has several funding applications in the pipeline, and the good news is that we have been granted $600,000 by Central Lakes Trust. We have more work to fund, but this is an amazingly solid foundation.
Thanks to the generosity of the CLT, expert ground crews can start clearing wilding trees away from sensitive areas such as waterways, tracks and existing native bush. This work will complement that of the Arrowtown Choppers in the Sawpit Gully area. Once these buffer strips have been established, aerial spray operations will focus on the western and northern slopes of German Hill where the infestation of trees is thickest, and where there is a danger of coning trees launching more seed. Once we have these trees under control, we will look to finish Tobins Face in the winter of 2019. The final challenge will be the faces above Bush Creek and Butel Park, which we will manage in the most aesthetically pleasing way we can.
We plan to hold a community meeting in early February so you can see what we are planning and ask any questions you have. We have also recently installed two signs explaining the project, one near the bridge to Tobins Track and the other across from the Chinese Village next to Bush Creek.
If you'd like to know more, please check out the Arrowtown Wilding Strategy, read the signage along the river or get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you'd like to get involved in hand clearance, check out the Arrowtown Choppers and their Wednesday night chops on Facebook or email email@example.com.
Hopefully 2019 will see our landscapes reclaimed and allow our native flora and fauna to flourish.