Wilding pines to get the chop on Half Mile and Manorburn
UPDATE 7 OCTOBER
The Central Otago District Council will delay wilding pine eradication work on council-owned land on the Half Mile near Alexandra, to allow more time to work through concerns raised by neighbouring residents.
The work was scheduled to happen between 11-31 October, as a joint project between the Central Otago Wilding Conifer Control Group and (CODC) in the continuing battle against the invasive conifer species.
We will keep you posted on revised project dates. More about the project is in the original media release below.
Two of the district’s wilding pine hot spots will be dealt with in the coming weeks in a joint project between the Central Otago Wilding Conifer Control Group and Central Otago District Council (CODC).
The Vincent Community Board has budgeted $25,000 for eradicating wilding pines from council-owned land, which includes a block on the Half Mile reserve to the south of Alexandra and the Lower Manorburn Dam reserve further north. Council’s contribution towards this covers part of the overall cost, with the balance being contributed by the Central Otago Wilding Conifer Control Group (CWG) through its funding agreements with the Ministry of Primary Industries.
Wilding pines on the 15-hectare Half Mile site had been causing significant issues, CODC Parks and Recreation manager Gordon Bailey said.
“As a responsible landowner, controlling wilding pines on Council land will help the surrounding landowners by mitigating the spread of wilding pines from council-owned land. The Half Mile is known as a take-off site, because of the prevailing nor’ wester, which disperses the seed in an easterly direction. The board has put aside funding to ensure wildings on its land are removed so they no longer disperse seed.”
Any mature trees would also be harvested and sold from the Half Mile to help offset removal costs. Once the trees were cleared, the board would investigate opportunities for the site.
The Lower Manorburn Dam reserve has about 4 ha of wilding pines on the dam end of the reserve. These pines have the potential to disperse seed into neighbouring farmland which have in recent years invested in controlling wilding pines within their properties.
This was the first time the Council had allocated funds to control wilding pine on council-owned land, including the 4-ha Lower Manorburn Dam site. Remaining hot spots on council land at Ranfurly, Roxburgh and Cromwell would also get the chop in the next three years.
Central Otago Wilding Conifer Control Group (CWG) project manager Nigel Moir was pleased that the Half Mile site had been identified as a significant seed source and that his group could work in with the Council to come up with a solution.
“The Central Wilding Group is excited to be partnering with the Central Otago District Council as we continue our battle against the infestation of wilding pines in our region.”
The CWG was formed in 2013 as a result of widespread community concern about the rampant spread of conifers over Central Otago’s unique landscape.
“This is a great example of the CWG and the CODC collectively working on fixing a community wide issue,” Mr Moir said.
Balclutha-based Mike Hurring logging and contracting company would carry out the work between 11-31 October.
The trees would be felled by machine and extracted with a skidder to a processing point beside the highway.
From there they will be processed and then loaded out, with any remaining slash such as branches, and off cuts would be chipped, which may be used by the Council. Logs would be cut to length and loaded.