Group gets rare chance to explore Otanomomo Bush

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JACK.CONROY@nullcluthaleader.co.nz

A group of budding naturalists has been treated to a rare opportunity to explore Otanomomo Bush.

The bush covers 36ha near the Telford campus south of Balclutha.

On Friday the group was led by Forest & Bird members, who used the walk as a joint opportunity to educate and get down to some weeding.

Forest & Bird South Otago branch chairman Roy Johnstone said one of the main issues was the growth of Chilean flame creeper, a canopy climbing weed that smothers bush areas and stops native species’ growth.

“Its hard to get rid of because it has an underground rhizome. You can pull it away on the surface but it keeps coming back,” Mr Johnstone said.

“It’s especially bad in light-well areas. Blackberry bushes are another issue.

Constant monitoring would be required to protect native flora and keep the weeds at a manageable level.

Pests were another challenge.

Ninety-five traps had been laid in the bush since October 2013, netting about 730 predators in the form of rats, cats, stoats and possums.