Windy Hill / Rosalie Bay Catchment Trust

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Fact Sheet

For the past 6 years the Trust has been raising funds and employing field workers to remove invasive plants and animals from privately owned land on south eastern Great Barrier Island.  The area currently under intensive management for rats and feral cats totals 270 hectares and is continuing to expand into neighbouring properties on agreement.

The goal of the Trust is to ecologically restore around 750 hectares of land divided into four pest management project areas - Little Windy Hill, Benthorn Farm, Medlands Ridgetop, and big Windy Hill.  The objective is to reduce the densities of invasive pests sufficiently to allow the reintroduction of species lost to Great Barrier with a particular focus on birds.

This area of the island has long been considered ecologically significant.  It is remote, has very little development, and has large areas of undistributed coastal broadleaf-podocarp mature forest.  The area is home of brown teal ducks, black petrels, chevron skink, Hochstetters frog, kaka and kereru.  The largest population in the Auckland region of the Category C rare plant pimelea tomentosa is found on the coast and a rare Green mistletoe is also present.

An integrated system of tracks and traps has been set up on the contours of the land to remove rats and feral cats.  No poisons have been use for the last 6 years but recently a decision was made to use baits to catch the trap shy rats.  Three full time field workers are employed through WINZ work schemes to undertake the trapping, as well as the hunting of feral pigs, culling magpies and mynas, and removing a suite of invasive plants.  A total of over 14,000 rats, 150 cats, 300 goats, 24 pigs and a number of magpies and mynas have been removed.  Field workers keep a detailed record of all catches and a sound history of rat and cat behaviour and catch statistics is developing.

All the private landowners involved make an annual donation to the project costs and the Trust manager makes an in kind contribution of 15 hours per week.  Fund have been raised from the Auckland Regional Council Environmental Initiatives Fund, World Wild Life Habitat Protection Fund, GBI Community Board - SLIPS Funding, Pacific Conservation and Development Fund, QEII National Trust, Auckland City, Heritage Fund, Scottwood Group, Lotteries Environment, Transpower Landcare, and the Biodiversity Condition Fund.  WINZ supports employment through Task Force Green Schemes.

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Judy Gilbert – E* Founding Trustee, landowner Little Windy Hill
Next Magazine Article

Liz Westbrooke – Dip Environmental Management, Landowner, Little Windy Hill

John Ogden – Professor of Ecology Auckland University

Mike Lee – Auckland Regional Council

Surveying stream beds for Hochstetters frogs   - Team from EcoGecko

Surveying stream beds for Hochstetters frogs - Team from EcoGecko

Team member Rachel Wakefield checking rat traps

Team member Rachel Wakefield checking rat traps

Field worker checking tracking tunnel cards for rat prints   - part of a comprehensive monitoring programme.

Field worker checking tracking tunnel cards for rat prints - part of a comprehensive monitoring programme.