Lake Westmere Care Group
Award Category: Wanganui-Manawatu
Lake Westmere is a Whanganui District Council (WDC) reserve. There is a 9ha lake within a 20ha area of bush and tracks surrounded by farmland. The area has a lot of historical significance from early Wanganui Maori to early Wanganui city days. A previous water supply for the city and pool for Westmere School, the reserve contains a mix of native and exotic species of plants and birds. Many of the exotic plant species add to the social history of the area, however given some dubious plantings and proximity to houses and the general spread of pest plants, the reserve was becoming weed filled and heading towards a highly modified state.
The group began as Mike Sigley identifying and controlling the worst of the invasive pest plants seriously modifying the bush and riparian areas around the lake. What was large areas of climbing asparagus, willow inundation, suckering elm, periwinkle, banana passionfruit and list goes on, is now areas replanted in suitable native species and many more vistas of the lake from the lake side track. Mike’s endless energy and commitment to the reserve has ignited the desire in many others to head out to the lake and assist with poisoning and planting. Mike has also used the skills of others to enable him to achieve. This has seen experts engaged on suitable plant species for replacement planting and also sharing weed control on a specialty basis with the WDC. Horizons Regional Council has helped with technical queries around plants and in the recent past animal control, as the group are now trapping pest animals for the protection of the bird life that abounds in the reserve. The proximity to the city and its placement in the corridor between the likes of Bushy park mean the work in the reserve benefits many other areas.
The group have regular action days.