Here are the major projects FOMI currently has underway or is planning for Mana Island. In addition there are several smaller projects covering both plants and animals. Some of the projects, for example the bird translocations, are subject to approvals from DOC and iwi.
To read about all the projects undertaken in 2016, see our latest performance report.
Special project: Flax weevil
Work is underway to determine why the flax weevil is severely damaging flax on Mana Island. This research report covers the work undertaken to date – “Beauveria pseudobassiana and the flax weevil from Mana Island”, by Travis Glare and Jenny Brookes, Bio-Protection Research Centre, Lincoln University, November 2017. You can also read a summary story in the December 2017 newsletter (page 6)
Here is the first research report – Flax planting trial looks at weevil damage (June 2017)
The background to the 2017 trial is in this 2013 blog by Colin Miskelly – A plague of flax weevils, a conservation hyper-success story.
FOMI will be conducting annual surveys for five years (began 2016) using specially trained dogs to detect seabird burrows and nesting sites on Mana Island.
We will continue our efforts to attract burrow nesting seabirds, including the fluttering shearwater and the fairy prion (read the 2016 translocation report). This work first began in 2006. The most recent fairy prion chick translocation was in January 2016 with a 100 percent fledgling rate of the chicks.
We are hoping to translocate white-faced storm petrels to the island over a three-year period beginning 2019. Forty chicks will be translocated from the Chatham Island in 2019, with another 100 chicks in each of 2020 and 2021. This work is made possible through funding from our major sponsor OMV New Zealand Ltd.
The concrete gannet colony has, as at early 2018, attracted four resident real gannets. The concrete decoys were repainted in 2016 with a new neck colour, some were moved to higher ground and the speakers emitting bird calls were relocated in December 2017. This has attracted three additional real gannets, in addition to Nigel who has been on the island since 2016. It is hoped female gannets will stay awhile and start breeding.
More details are in our 2016 performance report.
We are looking at translocating fernbird to the island’s wetland in 2019. There are currently none on Mana.
We continue to undertake five-minute bird counts to monitor the establishment of tui and bellbird populations on the island. And we are planning to maintain records of other species we call ‘vagrant or colonising species’ such as kaka, kereru, red-crowned parakeets.
FOMI continues to assist EcoGecko with its work with the Ngahere gecko on Mana Island. There is an enclosure on the island housing the gecko at present as it establishes a population. The fence will be removed once this is achieved.
Work on monitoring skinks is continuing, with the spotted skink now having a self-sustaining population on the island.
FOMI will be investigating methods to increase the diversity of invertebrate communities, including the suitability of different species for introduction on to the island.
Mana Island Floral Diversity Project
This is a three-stage process to enhance the floral diversity of the island.
- Mana Island Floral Diversity Enhancement Report-Stage 1- April 2015 – This first report outlines the collation and review of information about the revegetation and floral diversity of Mana Island. In 2010, Friends of Mana Island identified the need to improve the floral diversity on the island, following 27 years of planting and threatened plant management. Existing information was reviewed and recommendations made for volunteer opportunities.
- Mana Island Floral Diversity Enhancement Report, Stage 2 – May 2016 – This latest report outlines stage two which involved the ground truthing of floral restoration work that had been undertaken in the past, and the desktop findings of the stage one report. It suggests additional species, including threatened plants, which could be introduced to the restoration programme. It also has recommendations for replanting the Waikoko wetland and other plantings.
Restoring the Waikoko wetland and wildlife
This new project (added in 2017) includes constructing a loop walk with bird hides, new planting, creating islands with silt/mud cakes, reinstating ‘lizard lounge’, and weed control. We are hoping to introduce 40 adult fernbirds to the wetland from Lake Rotokare Wildlife Reserve to Mana Island in 2019. The restoration work will also provide an enhanced habitat for aquatic species such as mudfish.
FOMI will be developing a threatened plant action plan, with the possibility of establishing a specialist team for this work.
Planting and weed control
Although the major planting programme on the island is complete, work continues to collect seed from plants, introduce threatened plants and tree ferns into microhabitats (as per the 2016 Floral Diversity report), do lightwelling of canopy trees, and continue weed control of priority weeds in all habitats.
FOMI’s guiding and interpretation project
A team of guides has been trained to take visitors around the island on day trips. In addition, FOMI has produced a self-guided trail brochure for visitors to use as they walk around the island and visit numbered sites.
FOMI will continue to enhance the visitor experience on Mana Island.
The project is sponsored by Swazi, the suppliers of the jackets which FOMI guides wear.
MONITORING AND INFORMATION
In 2016, FOMI set up a new monitoring and information project. Its aims are – to organise information stemming from activities on Mana Island to ensure that restoration progress can be effectively monitored and publicised; to establish an information hub for the island; and to review and, where possible, improve the monitoring of the ecological restoration of the island.