Tutaenui Reservoir Reserve

October 16, 2020

On Saturday 10 October, the Tutaenui Stream Restoration Society and Rangitīkei District Council celebrated opening the Tutaenui Reservoir (also known as Marton B & C Dams) as an official public reserve.

This has been the result of years of hard work from many people. Around 700 volunteer hours have been spent at the dams, mainly starting from 2016. It began with cutting basic tracks through thick gorse and wading through mud. Then in 2017, the pine trees were removed changing the entire landscape of the dams. It allowed the team to see the potential of the reserve and planting began.

An incredible achievement of around 27,000 trees have been planted in the span of a couple of years. Many of these were planted by Council and during community planting days. If you missed out on one of these planting days don't worry there are lots more planned for the future.

Local residents, David Smith and George Death donated a block of land at the start of the Tutaenui Stream just below the dams and in 2018 a fantastic community planting day was held. Over 1000 trees were planted in the ground in one morning and two years on those trees are thriving.

Aside from planting at the dams, the tracks have improved greatly and there is progress on making them even better over the next wee while.

Another effort that has made a massive difference to the ecosystem at the dams is the trapping program lead by Maree Gurney and Cath Ash. Every week these ladies are out there trapping and baiting to help rid the dams of pest species and encourage our native wildlife back to the reserve. Over 30 stoats have been caught, along with rats, mice, hedgehogs and other mammalian pests that cause immense damage to the fauna and flora at the reserve.

At the Open Day, Greg Carlyon (a member of the Tutaenui Restoration Society) and Mayor Andy Watson officially opened the kiosk at the beginning of the track. This kiosk will soon have a permanent historical display, information about the dams and a map of the tracks. For kids, there will be treasure hunts and other activities at the kiosk, so they can have a bit of extra fun as you walk around. The children that came along to the Open Day were given a trapping demonstration and learned all about the pest animals at the dams.

The Rotary Club has also been a great help and has put in a lot of work in at the reserve. On Saturday, they helped feed the masses with a sausage sizzle, as well as helping people see the dams by ferrying them around in side-by-sides utility vehicles so nobody would miss out.

The public reserve is now open from dusk to dawn, seven days a week, 365 days a year, for anybody and everybody that wants to come and enjoy the reserve. You can walk, run, or mountain bike the tracks. Dogs on leads and horse riding are also welcome.

There is a small bridge halfway around the 4km track that is a single person bridge, this will soon be replaced with a more accessible bridge, so keep that in mind when walking strollers or bikes around.

If you would like more information or to get involved with the Tutaenui Stream Restoration Society, go along to a planting day or join the trapping group, by following the 'Tutaenui Stream Restoration Project' on Facebook.

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