From individual trapping efforts, it is known there is a high level of predator activity along the bush/scrub line of the road verge. In particular, stoats with their large territorial range use the road verge as a corridor. Rats at certain times do the same.
This has inspired the plan to establish a community-led trapline - to control predators moving along SH6 and east-west movement between native bush and the coastal lowlands.
We aim to have a 18.5km stoat trapline along State Highway 6 from 17 Mile Bluff to Razorback Point with stoat/rat traps at 100m intervals. Either in the bush/scrub line of the road margin or just inside private property boundaries as agreed with landowners/occupiers. No one will enter private property to check the traps unless you specifically ask them to do so by the landowner/occupier.
The project aims to help protect native birds in adjoining public conservation land, privately owned native bush, agricultural land and the coastal strip. Community led, managed and operated. Box traps with DOC150s will predominately be used, however, for larger landowners and/or difficulty of access, some automatic traps will be used.
This trapline is the backbone of, what could be, a community-led stoat trap network . It will have the potential to reduce stoat numbers and thus protect the lowland terraces and help to stem the flow of stoats into adjoining conservation land. Our vision is that this project will be the seed for subsequent expansion north and south along the Coast Road (and minor roads/creeks running west to the coast) and thus develop into landscape scale predator control for mustelids, rats and possums. The proposed trapline ties in with, and adds to, current trapping projects in the area, including trapping networks on private land, Barrytown Predator Free School, CVNZ Punakaiki trapline, Predator Free Punakaiki, and the 90km trapline on the new Paparoa Great Walk.
The Barrytown Flats with its bordering native bush, wetland areas and coastal strip are rich in native bird biodiversity from forest birds to freshwater birds and seashore birds. This includes the Great Spotted Kiwi/Roroa, NZ Falcon/Karearea, NZ Pigeon/Kereru, Weka, Westland Petrel/Taiko, Blue Penguins/Korora, Oystercatchers/Torea, Gulls, Banded Dotterel/Pohowera, Terns, Tomtit/Miromiro, Tui, Bittern/Matuku Hurepo, Bellbird/Korimako, and Grey Warbler/Riroriro. As stoats are particularly devastating on all native bird life, we aim to enhance the survival and nesting success rates of native birds in the area. In addition to reducing stoat numbers, we also expect to reduce the populations of weasels, rats and hedgehogs.
The project will undertake an annual spring 5 minute bird count on a 20-station line as an index of bird abundance. We will analyse and report on trends. We will monitor stoat activity through the use of a trail camera. We will collect and collate statistics of catches. As a project seeking maximum engagement we will not require computer literacy of our volunteers. Catches can be entered on simple paper forms with data entry done centrally later.
This is a project owned by the local community. The Coast Road Dawn Chorus network will run as an incorporated society with its governance and operational structure to facilitate this. We propose to divide the project area up into approximate 5km sections, each with a lead volunteer. The lead volunteer will coordinate their volunteers to ensure the cluster of traps in the 5km stretch are maintained, checked and reported on.
We will engage as widely as we can with our community. We plan to keep in touch with our community with a regular newsletter to be dropped in letterboxes, distributed to the local school and cafe. We will also engage via email and social media.
We already have a small but dedicated core of local volunteers that are involved in other conservation projects and have expressed interest in this project. But we need your help! Please get in touch.