April 5, 2022
The landscape in Queenstown is special, and every year it draws millions of visitors who stare in awe at our towering mountains, braided rivers, deep blue lakes and unrivalled scenery.
For many years, hectares of land down on the Lower Shotover River was the dumping ground for cars, household furniture and rubbish. In 2017 there were 7 car wrecks found in the reserve and large amounts of rubbish!
Over 60 of the 150 hectares of the Tucker Beach Wildlife Reserve was completely degraded, overgrown with noxious weeds and considered an unsafe place. In 2017 a small number of passionate local residents formed the ‘Friends of Tucker Beach Wildlife Reserve’ with a goal to restore the biodiversity of the area, protect the already endangered species nesting in the areas, and bring back and support native vegetation & wildlife corridors in order to attract native birds, insects and lizards back into the area.
The Reserve is home to a number of rare birds including the endangered Black-fronted Tern, and the at risk Black-billed Gull and Banded Dotterel. The Banded Dotterel populations are now growing due to the work of this ecological restoration project.
In 2019, a large amount of broom and buddleia were removed from a section adjacent to the river, including areas alongside the Queenstown Trail. Community planting days have also meant that thousands of native plants have been replanted, all adding to the vital restoration of the area.
The Friends of Tucker Beach are working to clear 18 hectares of weeds and have set a goal of having 5 hectares of this replanted with natives.
KJet is proud to have assisted the team with this goal when the head office staff helped out one morning planting some of the 9,000 plants the group aim to get in the ground this autumn, as well as learning about the ecology of the area at the same time.
There has also been a huge effort trapping predators in the area that are dangerous to birdlife. A total of 87 traps are now set up to protect the area from mustelids, rats, hedgehogs and cats.
Skitterish birds will abandon their nests and eggs if they are disturbed or scared, so visitors are asked to stay on the track, keep away from the gravel areas and keep dogs on leads during the nesting season (September to January).
KJet is particularly interested in the restoration of the reserve as our Jet boat trips stop at Tucker Beach along the Lower Shotover River. The birds and wildlife are not disturbed by our Jet boats as they have been going up and down the river for decades. Our Jet boat drivers also like to talk about the work that is going on in the area, and many customers are interested in learning more about the region.
You can help by volunteering for community planting days, follow their Facebook page for updates.