Major weed control project in Dobson and Hopkins Valleys gets go-ahead

The Upper Waitaki Zone Water Committee has approved $73,000 – over three years – of Immediate Steps funding towards pest weed control in the Dobson and lower Hopkins Valleys.

The committee adopted the three-year biodiversity project at its most recent meeting on July 19 in Twizel to protect the braided rivers, wetlands and dryland ecosystems in this unique area.

The large-scale project came about after a weed survey was carried out in February, which recommended that immediate action should be taken against 10 invasive species.

Environment Canterbury staff conduct research in the Dobson Valley

Environment Canterbury staff conduct research in the Dobson Valley

Weed control main focus

Most pressing for control is the crack willow and Russel lupin. Crack willow, in particular, colonises wetlands and braided rivers, changing the hydrology and dominating existing native vegetation in wetlands.

Other targeted species include buddleia, alder, elderberry, cotoneaster, gooseberry, flowering currant, raspberry and hops.

With funding now set in motion, the Department of Conservation (DOC), Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), and the Glen Lyon Station will also commit to supporting the project.

Environment Canterbury biodiversity officer Rob Carson-Iles said it was great to get the project off the ground.

“The collaboration we’ve had with the landowners, as well as input from other organisations, is what has made this significant project possible.″

“That’s what the Immediate Steps programme is about, teamwork to get important projects such as this one underway.”

“This funding will, over three years, help to protect threatened landscapes, ecosystems and key native species in both the Dobson and lower Hopkins Valleys,” he said.

At the end of the three years, weed distribution will be resurveyed and the need for further control will be assessed.

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