27 May 2024

Project to boost Central Otago's native biodiversity set to begin

11:53 am on 27 May 2024
Central Otago's Half Mile Recreation Reserve will be the focus of a planting project over the next five years.

The reserve in its current state. Photo: Supplied / Otago District Council

The first stage of a planting project to transform Central Otago's Half Mile Recreation Reserve will begin next month.

The reserve is set on the hillside above the State Highway 85 entranceway into Alexandra, and the project aims to beautify the town's main entrance and boost its native biodiversity.

The Haehaeata Natural Heritage Trust has a memorandum of understanding with the Central Otago District Council to plant out the reserve throughout a five-year period.

The first public planting day will be held on Sunday 9 June, from 1pm-4pm.

The trust's project coordinator Rach Baxter said the initial goal was to put in 5000 tussocks.

"There has been a lot of work happening in the background with this project and we are very excited to announce the first of our public planting days," she said.

"The slash has been tidied away, the ground prepared and now we have our fingers crossed for a bit more rain."

"This is a big project and we're in for the long haul, so we need as many people involved as possible. There's a variety of ways people can be actively involved even if their backs aren't up to digging holes."

At this first planting, the trust plans to establish three local species; Poa cita - silver tussock, Poa colensoi - blue tussock and Festuca novae-zelandiae - hard tussock.

It said the next five stages would concentrate on re-establishing local native shrub and tree species.