Project Island Song - Ipipiri / Eastern Bay of Islands restoration
Project Island Song is an island restoration project encompassing the island archipelago f Ipipiri in the eastern Bay of Islands.
The project aims to maintain the islands as animal pest-free sanctuaries and significantly reduce plant pests across the island group. The long-term goal is to restore the native habitats and reintroduce locally extinct native animals and plants.
The islands, Urupukapuka, Waewaetorea, Okahu, Motukiekie, Moturua and Motuarohia (Roberton) are at the eastern end of the Bay of Islands, Northland.
Currently approximately 600 ha of island are actively managed for pests.
Project Island Song is a three-way partnership between Guardians of the Bay of Islands, Ngati Kuta and Patukeha (Rawhiti hapu) and the Department of Conservation (Bay of Islands Area).
Mammalian predator control were eradicated in 2009 as the result of an aerial drop of broudifacoum across all of the rockstacks, islets and islands making up the Project Island Song area.
A stoat and rat trap grid is maintained to monitor and catch any stoats or rats that reinvade. Tracking cards and tunnels are situated next to the traps as part of an ‘early warning’ system. Rodent dogs and stoat dogs are ‘run’ across the islands on a regular basis. If rodent or stoat sign are reported, extra traps (including mouse if mice signs are reported) are deployed, rodent/stoat dogs and handlers work across the affected area until the pest animal has been caught and killed or three months of no sign have passed. To date (May 2012) ten rats, three mice and one stoat have been detected and caught.
The islands of Ipipiri are very close to the eastern Bay of Islands mainland and are consequently at risk of reinvasion by rodents and stoats either swimming across or stowing away on vessels.
An associated strategy of mainland pest control includes a collaboration of community, hapu and agencies - Project Points and Project Strip. This grouping helps reduce the chance of pest reinvasion from the adjacent mainland. Project Points pest control (traps and baits) is carried out on private land by contractors and land managers; Project Strip pest control (traps) is managed by contractors from the local community and funded by Guardians of the Bay of Islands and other community groups in the area. A CPCA administered by Northern Regional Council is in place at Rawhiti (the closest part of the mainland to the pest-free islands).
Regular volunteer weeding groups work across all of the islands targeting weed species including: tradescantia, ginger, periwinkle, mothplant, and boneseed.
Restoration plantings are being done by conservation volunteers on Waewaetoria and Urupukapuka Islands.
A Pateke (Brown Teal) translocation application is currently underway (Autumn 2012).
A comprehensive public information and education campaign is also underway using the tagline Stop (before leaving the mainland) Check (for stowaways) and the Go (and have fun!)
The majority of the islands are public reserves managed by the Department of Conservation. They are open to the public at all times. However, the western and eastern ends of Motuarohia (Roberton Island), Motukiekie Island and Hahangarua Bay (Norwegian Bay) on Moturua Island, are privately owned. Public access to these areas is only up to the mean high tide mark.