In the Northern Forest, which is the part of the park adjacent to Eastbourne and Wainuiomata, MIRO’s work focussed for 20 years on controlling possums, which were damaging our native trees, especially rata. Monitoring shows that possum numbers are being kept at low levels, so attention is now shifting to the control of stoats and rats, which prey on our native birds. About 50 MIRO volunteers service these traps every month, while others assist with quarterly rodent monitoring and 5-minute bird counts.
At the Parangarahu Lakes at the south coast end of the park, in close cooperation with Taranaki Whānui, MIRO has established revegetation plots to assist natural regeneration and thus speed the return of native forest to this formerly grazed area. The trees for the plots are grown at MIRO’s tree nursery, hosted by GNS Science in Gracefield, using locally-sourced seed.
MIRO volunteers also help to protect the nationally vulnerable banded dotterel, which nests on beach gravels, through identifying nests, erecting signage and protective fencing, and trapping predators.
To get complete ‘mountains-to-sea’ predator control across Eastbourne and the Bays, local residents are now trapping predators on their own properties and the adjacent foreshore as part of the ERAT Project.