Environment Fund case study: Gary Watkins
Young manuka, kanuka, flax and cabbage trees are taking hold in an eroding gully on an Arapohue dairy farm run-off.
Gary Watkins has a vision that the two-hectare site, recently harvested of 50-year-old pines, will be transformed into a rich stand of native bush resembling the land as it was before native trees were felled to make way for pasture.
A grant from the council's Environment Fund of just under $5,000 has helped meet the cost of approximately 1.5kms of fencing around the gully to allow the new plants to establish.
The council's Environment Fund contributed to this fence which will keep stock out of the eroding gully while the willows and native trees establish.
The grant also included $1000 to kick start the planting project, with Gary providing about 4,500 extra trees at his own cost. All the trees were supplied and planted by Babylon Coast Gardens and Gary is very happy with their work.
"There was massive erosion there, so we've also planted 210 shrubby willows, subsidised by the council to stabilise the land until the young trees get a foothold," Gary says. "The plan is to remove them once they've done their job and the natives are fully established. Some of the new native trees are already up to knee-height."
More than 4000 new natives, mainly manuka and kanuka, will be planted this year and Gary is keen to plant kauri groves when the conditions are right. Stabilising the gully with the planting will help stop the gully eroding further uphill.
Gary says there was "no hassle" getting the funding with the help of the council's land management team.
"I think it's great that the council can help with this sort of project," he said.
Some of the native trees Gary has planted within the fenced gully.