Early in July, we organised three mornings with volunteers helping to help clear weeds from areas favoured by riverbed birds. For the 50 attendees, these sessions were both enjoyable and successful – with a total of 4ha cleared. Soon after the last morning, a large once-a-year flood swept down the river. Although the flood rearranged the ground surface contours of about 2ha, our efforts were not wasted, as it did not completely clear the other half of weeds. This is evident as some of the few lupins we missed are still standing, with other ‘escapees’
Yellow lupins are easily pulled out physically, so all that is needed to do the work are good backs and gloved hands. A light mattock is handy for the larger weeds. The areas to be cleared are within easy walking of the stop-bank, although there will be shallow water to cross, so wet feet must be an expectation. There is little shelter on the riverbed, so appropriate winter clothing should be worn.
The meeting place for those interested will be at the Groyne 2 entrance to the river. This is at the end of Merton road, off the stopbank gravel track running alongside the sealed access road into the Rangiora aerodrome.
The start time on Sunday, August 11 will be 9am and volunteers can stay for as long as they like. The only reason for cancellation will be a higher than normal river flow. Look at the ECan riverflow data site (Northern Region), and if the flow at the Ashley Gorge site is greater than 20 cumecs the event is unlikely to go ahead. If attendees have any queries, phone either Nick Ledgard (03 3128799) or Bev Alexander (03 3137009).