Funding boost for Marlborough Sounds wilding pine programme
The Marlborough Sounds Restoration Trust has secured more than $200,000 towards its wilding pine control programme in the Marlborough Sounds this year.
The funding will see tens of thousands of the nuisance trees controlled in Inner Queen Charlotte Sound, in a bid to protect the area’s scenic beauty and native forests.
Trust Chairman Andrew Macalister says the Trust has received funding from the following sources:
New Zealand Lottery Grants Board’s Environment and Heritage Fund - $89,354
Canterbury Community Trust - $30,000
Sounds landowners - $28,500
Department of Conservation - $20,000
Marlborough District Council - $20,000
Biodiversity Condition Fund - $15,217
New Zealand King Salmon Company Ltd - $9,298.
“The continued support of national funding agencies and of local businesses, such as NZ King Salmon, is hugely appreciated,” says Mr Macalister. “The buy-in of the Council and DOC is also a major step forward.”
“In addition, landowners have been making donations through our website or via their resident associations.”
NZ King Salmon’s General Manager of Aquaculture, Stewart Hawthorn, says they were delighted to be the primary commercial sponsor of this project.  “We like to support environmental-based projects that fit with our desire to have a sustainable business model here in Marlborough.”
Marlborough District Council’s Environmental Science and Monitoring Manager, Alan Johnson, says a community-led response to wilding pine control is an excellent way of addressing this long-standing issue, and it was appropriate the Council supported it.
DOC’s Sounds Area Manager, Roy Grose, says DOC was supporting the programme through local funds and the Biodiversity Fund. “Wilding pines are a serious ecological weed in the Sounds. It’s great to see residents, local and central government, businesses and national funding agencies are all working together towards a common cause, in a very positive and exciting way.”
This year control will take place throughout the Bay of Many Coves, the head of Blackwood and Torea Bays, Double Cove, the east side of Onahau Bay, and the coastal faces between Whatamango Bay and Dieffenbach Point.
A 750ha block in Pelorus Sound at Elie Bay will also be targeted. “There is real enthusiasm for wilding pine control in Pelorus Sound,” says Mr Macalister, “and this project will provide a real showcase of what is possible in a different part of the Sounds.”
Last year, the Trust controlled about 8,500 trees across 2,500 ha in the inner Sound. This year, the second of a three year programme, the programme will target trees across 3,000 ha.
The Trust plans to undertake its wilding pine control between September and December, with contracting firms engaged to undertake the work through a competitive tendering process.
The control method will be the injection of small amounts of a commercially-available herbicide directly into holes drilled into tree trunks, with small trees either hand-pulled or cut using a pruning saw. Trees adjacent to power lines, baches and other sensitive areas will be excluded from poisoning, but may be felled if funding allows.
For more information
Andrew Macalister on 027 622 8135 or 03 548 9706.

 The Marlborough Sounds Restoration Trust wilding removal crew in action - last year they cleared wildings from 2500 ha, this season 3000 ha are targeted

-       Wilding pines are pine trees that have spread from original shelterbelt or forestry plantations into adjoining areas of native bush or grassland.
-       Wilding pines are a significant problem in the Marlborough Sounds and other parts of the South Island, with impacts on both landscape values and native biodiversity.
-       The Marlborough Sounds Restoration Trust was set up with the aim of facilitating a co-ordinated, community-led approach to wilding pine control.
-       A report commissioned by the Trust found that wilding pines pose a major threat to ecological processes, native vegetation, native flora and fauna, and natural soil and water conditions.
-       The report also identifies at least eight types of native plants at risk, plus many native animals (land birds, shore-nesting birds, lizards, invertebrates and freshwater fish).
-       A second Trust report also found that, without extensive and comprehensive wilding management, the landscape values of Queen Charlotte Sound will gradually diminish. It will lose its distinctiveness, and very special identity based on its natural qualities.
-       A strategic and prioritised management plan for wilding pine control has been developed for Inner Queen Charlotte Sound, which is guiding a three-year control programme for all high-priority areas of the inner sound.