The Hayes family own the farmland surrounding Horsham Downs Lake Kaituna Wildlife Management Reserve (Lake B) and Lake C and have been undertaking weed control for the last 11 years. During this time they have eradicated the mature grey willow, cracked willow, blackberry, privet, bamboo, gorse, blackwood, beggars tick, royal fern, gypsy wort and primrose willow which surrounded the lake. They have also carried out weed eradication at Lakes D near their property and they are committed to follow up weed seedling control each year around the lake reserves. They initiated the weed programme themselves and later had help and advice from agencies and especially the DOC Waikato Area Office staff.
The Hayes family have been weedbusting on 3 lakes near Horsham Downs since 1999. They came to the farm in 1981. They have noticed over time that Lake B was disappearing. Weeds surrounded the lake. New dairy conversion and more intensification across the catchment have caused silting. Algae developed on the lake and botulism caused the death of shags, ducks, eel and fish during the summer of 1998. They began removing willow and got advice (from David Bellamy) on dealing with willows. They started removing willows from the prevailing wind end of the lake so that seed didn't re-infest cleared ground. This was a ground-breaking technique.
DOC assisted for 5 years, providing manpower for the work on Lake B. The Hayes family did Lake C by themselves and 90% of Lake D. It took 7 years to complete Lakes B and C. One to one and a half hectares of weed removal was undertaken each year. Weed re-groth is sprayed 3 times a year.
The family have undertaken extensive restoration plantings at Lake C. They have recently retired and have fenced off and planted low lying farmland surrounding the lake at their own cost. br />
Nominated by: Craig Purvis, Department of Conservation.