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Catchpool Restoration Project - Remutaka Forest Park

Project Vision:

Vision Statement for the Catchpool Valley superimposed on an image of the nearby lowland broadleaf forest at Graces Stream.
Vision Statement for the restored Catchpool Valley superimposed on an image of the nearby lowland broadleaf forest at Graces Stream, in our eco-hotspot. Photo credit: PC.

Catchpool Restoration Project - 2009 to present day

Large tracts of the 22,500 hectare Remutaka Forest Park are cloaked in dense native forests and make up one of the largest untouched contiguous areas of indigenous forest in the Wellington region.

The biodiversity and appearance of the Catchpool entrance to the park, however, has been degraded historically by the introduction of feral pests, saw milling, farming, and exotic forestry plantations.

When the pine forest plantation on the hills surrounding the lower Catchpool Valley was clear-felled recently, many local residents felt that the resulting denuded hills and gullies were an eyesore. (Actually, more damage was done by the 'weather-bomb' and floods that devastated the area in March, 2005).

With the clear-felling of the Radiata pine forest on the other side of the Catchpool Stream over a ten year period following 1997 and the visible devastation of the surrounding landscape, it was resolved to re-forest the slopes and river valley once again with native plants in an attempt to restore the biodiversity values and increase the attractiveness of the area to tourists and regular visitors to the Park.

The Remutaka Conservation Trust has taken on the task of revegetating the Catchpool in an attempt to restore its biodiversity values to those that may have prevailed before human intervention occurred in the valley.

This project aims to give Nature a helping hand to speed up the reforestation of the hillsides with native plants and trees in order to quickly restore the original biodiversity of the area and to provide plenty of food and a healthy habitat for indigenous species of birds, lizards, amphibians, fish and invertebrates.

Our simple strategy is to plant large numbers of different & desired eco-sourced plant species in the gullies and other sheltered areas to give them a head-start over natural regeneration processes. To ensure the health and well-being of the Catchpool and Graces Streams, we engage in riparian planting and remove pest plants.

We have a permit to collect seed from the park (ensuring the eco-sourced nature of our plant stocks) and grow them in our nursery behind the DOC Field Centre, not far from the Park entrance.

Each year Trust volunteers, together with the welcome and able assistance of hundreds of corporate volunteers and school children, then plant the native species throughout the restoration zones during autumn and the winter months.

In spring and summer, these same groups tend to those plants by releasing them and undertaking pest plant removal and a myriad of other site maintenance tasks.

Project Update Poster

Poster showing restoration project updates and achievements. (Click to view full-sized PDF poster version).
Project progress update poster created circa 2012. (Click the image to view or download the full-sized PDF poster). Poster credit: PC.

Volunteers needed - Get Involved!

If you are interested in becoming involved in this project, please contact our webmaster and Catchpool Restoration Project coordinator, Peter Cooper. Many thanks!

Corporate volunteers planting native trees on their volunteer day down at the Catchpool Valley
Corporate volunteers planting native trees on their volunteer day down at the Catchpool Valley. The trees were grown in our nursery from seed collected in the Park. Volunteer Days contribute considerable value to our Catchpool Restoration Project and offer great team-building experiences for the participants. Photo credit: PC.


Project Documentation

These documents are provided as a reference resource for participants and volunteers supporting the RCT Catchpool Restoration Project.

Community Conservation Fund

Press Release: June 17th, 2009

The Trust was successful in obtaining funding for this restoration work in the park over the next two years.  A total of $40,000 ($20,000 a year) is available to purchase plants to restore some areas in the Catchpool Valley where the pines have been removed.

The small pockets of existing native bush will be given a helping hand with additional planting to create a more diverse range of flora, thus creating a seed bank for further natural dispersal.

This also gives us the opportunity to perhaps re-introduce plant species into the park which have become extinct in that area.

Additionally, it will provide a great opportunity for community and corporate groups to take ownership of a ‘plot’ and to maintain them on a regular basis.

If you are interested in becoming involved in this project, please contact our webmaster and Catchpool Restoration Project coordinator, Peter Cooper. Many thanks!

The ANZ National Bank group after their planting and restoration efforts are shown here with Ian and David

On a beautiful 2009 Spring day in the Remutaka Forest Park, the ANZ National Bank group are shown here after their terrific planting and restoration efforts with Ian (RFPT) and David (DoC). Photo credit: PC. 

Original Catchpool Restoration Project Outline

Project Charter

This project has been given legitimacy by Deed of Grant of $40,000 in two instalments of $20,000 over two years from the Community Conservation Fund. (Project Reference as follows from the DoC website)

Project number: CCF-051
Project name: Catchpool Restoration Project
Organisation: Rimutaka Forest Park Charitable Trust
Funded: $40,000
Brief description: “A grant of up to $40,000 to the Rimutaka Forest Park Charitable Trust to assist with the revegetation of retired logging areas in the Rimutaka Forest Park. Specifically, the grant will assist with preparing the site for planting, and the purchase of native eco-sourced plants for revegetating the site.”

The Rimutaka Forest Park Trust committee originally endorsed the pursuit of this grant during 2008 and are keen to execute their obligations under the charter. At the June 9th 2009 committee meeting, RFPT member Peter Cooper was appointed as the project coordinator for this undertaking.

A formal acceptance and thank you letter was sent by Trust Secretary, Melody McLaughlin to Alan White, Fund Manager, Biodiversity Funds, Community Conservation Fund and TFBIS Programme at the Department of Conservation on the 30th April, 2009.

Problem/ Opportunity Statement

Creating a better “first impression”

The Catchpool Valley access road from Wainuiomata Coast Road to the car park at the start of the Orongorongo Track is the first area of the Remutaka Forest Park that most visitors see. It is easily the most accessible and popular entrance to the Park (with more than 70,000 local and overseas visitors per year.)

The camping ground and picnic areas in the Catchpool Valley are frequently used during the summer months and thousands more people enter and exit the Park via this corridor throughout the year on their way to and from the many excellent tracks and huts within the Park.

Unfortunately, the hillsides above the Catchpool Stream on the South Eastern flank entrance to the valley are looking bare and scarred following the recent clear-felling of the pine forest that was planted there in the 1960s – and further devastated by the “weather bomb” and consequent floods/ erosion that struck the area in March, 2005.
Many locals claim that it is an eyesore, with the entrance to the Park not nearly as attractive as it used to be.

Our opportunity here is to create a better first impression for new visitors to the Park; and a steadily improving vista for regular visitors and critical local residents.

More importantly, we will be creating a better habitat for native flora and fauna - and there is the additional tantalising opportunity to re-establish species that once were present in the Park but now are missing.

Original Project Objectives - 2009

Mission Statement

The Trust’s original mission was:

“To protect and restore the natural and historic resources of the Remutaka Forest Park valleys and environs, in order to contribute to the spiritual, mental, emotional and physical well-being of the wider community”

This project will allow this by


2018 Revised Project Objectives:

The Trust sees this as a natural extension of the work currently being undertaken in relation to fauna restoration, understanding the connective nature of the flora and fauna to establish a natural habitat and food source for native birds and create an environment that links to our long-term goals.

Short term: Meet the increasing desire from the community groups/education and businesses (corporate organisations) to actively participate in conservation efforts in the park - one of the best ways to achieve this is through restoration projects building up the resource pool of volunteers to support the long term goal. Actively encourage more people into the park to create a positive environment and a sense of ownership to the place through hands-on involvement.

Long term: Establish an ongoing restoration network of groups and individuals who will take responsibility and maintain the ongoing plantings, accelerating the natural regeneration of native flora within the park by creating the ‘nodes’ of planting to act as seed sources this will in turn support the Trust's objectives to re-introduce other species, both flora and fauna, back into the park.

Project Vision

 “A valley of lush, lofty lowland broadleaf forest sustaining abundant and healthy native biodiversity and attracting enthusiastic visitors to the main entrance of the Remutaka Forest Park.”

 

 

Brent Tandy and Peter Simpson demonstrate the unpacking and replanting of Hard Beech seedlings to volunteers and other DoC staff members during our initial Catchpool Restoration working bee

Brent Tandy and Peter Simpson demonstrate the careful unpacking and replanting of native hard beech seedlings to volunteers and fellow DoC staff members who turned up in numbers during our initial Catchpool Restoration working bee. Without our help, Nature would take hundreds of years to regenerate beech trees in this area. More than 150 of these trees were planted that morning.
(Photo credit: PC)

Making a Start...

BNZ Call Centre Staff clearing weeds in the Catchpool Valley BNZ Call Centre volunteer enjoying her day out in the Park

BNZ Call Centre staff clearing the way for planting, and releasing existing plantings in the Catchpool.
Photos Credit:- Melody McLaughlin

Original Project Map of the Catchpool Restoration Area

Nodes identified for planting native trees and shrubs to revegetate the logged hillsides in the Catchpool area

Click the map for a larger image (256kb PDF format)

Here's a map of the areas in the Catchpool Valley that were targeted for the first round of plantings. We were hoping to source and plant about 30,000 native plants and trees during the first two years of this project.

Current Project Map of the Catchpool Restoration Area

Map of Restoration Zones applying to the revised Catchpool Restoration Project Plan (2018)

Map showing the new Restoration Zones applying to the revised Catchpool Restoration Project Plan (2018). Click for a larger view.

Photo showing the new wetlands site designated for restoration in the next few yearsThis photo shows a small section of the wetlands site in the lower Catchpool Valley that has been designated for restoration in the next few years. (Click for a larger view). Photo credit: PC. 

In the background, you can see the remnant pine forest that will be harvested in 2020 and replanted with native trees. Eventually, most of the exotic species shown here will be replaced by eco-sourced natives.

Catchpool Nursery

The Trust has recognised that eco-sourcing cannot be guaranteed through local commercial nurseries and has since gained a permit from DOC to collect seed within the park and set up its own nursery.

The nursery is located behind the DOC Field Depot just off the Coast Road near the entrance to the park.

The plants used in enrichment and revegetation planting efforts will be sourced from seed & cuttings collected within the Remutaka Forest Park and grown in the Trust’s nursery. Plants grown will be held at the nursery on site until planting, hardening them to the local conditions. More details here...

Nursery Group

Mike Rees and his nursery group on a working bee down at the Catchpool nursery
Mike Rees (thumbs up) and his nursery group on a working bee down at the Catchpool nursery in February 2020. (Click for more details about our nursery).

Catchpool Nursery Group Volunteers

Some of the team from ANZ National Bank heading up the slopes to plant their trees above the Catchpool Car Park

Some of the team from ANZ National Bank heading up the slopes to plant their trees above the Catchpool Car Park. Photo credit: PC

Family tree planting day - August 2011 Family planting native trees, Catchpool Valley

(Above) Families planting native trees during a Belmont Scouts Volunteer Day, Catchpool Valley, Remutaka Forest Park. Photos credit: PC.

The lads from EFTPOS NZ Ltd planted more than 260 trees on their volunteer planting day in the Park during September.

The lads from EFTPOS NZ Ltd planted more than 260 trees on their volunteer planting day in the Park during September. (Click for a larger image).

Melissa Middleton & colleague show off their designer gumboots during their community volunteer day's planting efforts.

Melissa Middleton & colleague proudly show off their designer gumboots during their community volunteer day's planting efforts. Photos credit: PC.