Once the dust settles

23 April 2012
Four months since the big slips, and it’s time to check out exactly how we’re placed. Jonathan went to assess the head of the slip site with committee member Matt Shoult.

Matt on slip edge April 2012

Ok, so they were able to get to the top, but things didn’t look pleasant up there.

Looking down from the top of the slip April 2012-400

There seemed to be a chunk of land cut away at the top that was just waiting to slide further down.
The slip covered about 1 hectare in area, and we had lost 200-300 seedlings and several short sections of track. The track could be rebuilt, and new plants could be put in the ground, but the possibility of another slip occurring loomed large.

Slip top April 2012-400

We realised we needed help. Jonathan phoned the Tasman District Council and sought advice from the experts. Resource scientist Andrew Burton was brilliant. He came out and gave the site a thorough assessment:

“Tree species are required to control the gully and slip erosion processes. Council has available suitable poplar planting material. I would be happy to provide that material free of charge for the purpose of slip planting. … 400-500 plants may be required for the complete area. The planting material we provide is unrooted 1m cuttings that can be put in with a light crowbar so they are easy and quick to plant. Not all of the slip face can be planted because there is nothing to plant into (its rock) and some planting will be required adjacent to the slip area as well”

Poplars weren’t quite what we were hoping for a revegetation project, but the practicalities of controlling a dangerous slip site won out. And besides, poplars would do very nicely in carbon sequestration, and we worked out that once they were established and had stabilised the ground enough, we could come through, thin them, and set in some natives to take over.

On a brighter note, plants in the unaffected areas were beginning to take off.

Jonathan with 2m lemonwood on roadside-400

That lemonwood had been planted three years ago on the edge of the road. It didn’t seem to mind the harsh condititons of roadside life!

And there was even time to tidy up around the Lorax Lair, with Bronnie smartening up the inside of the toilet with a lick of paint in a smart cream colour, making it a salubrious spot to hang out.

Painting the toilet April 2012-400

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