Two new hygiene stations are being installed into Alice Eaves Scenic Reserve in Orewa this month to protect kauri, with a further four more to be installed in the Albany ward by April 2021.
An additional hygiene station will be added to Alice Eaves Scenic Reserve later this year, while the other three will go into Gills Road Reserve in Albany during autumn 2021.
Albany Ward Councillor John Watson says installing the stations is about reinforcing good habits to help prevent the spread of kauri dieback disease.
“The new hygiene stations are an important reminder of what is at stake - even just a speck of soil stuck to a shoe is enough to spread the pathogen responsible for killing kauri.”
“It is crucial that we all do our bit to protect our kauri by scrubbing and spraying our shoes at the hygiene stations before and after we go on tracks.”
Because the pathogen, Phytophthora agathidicida, lives in soil, it is believed to first infect kauri feeder roots, with the subsequent spread to the tree’s main roots and then lower trunk, before the whole tree succumbs to the disease.
There are various types of hygiene stations in use nationally, ranging from brushes and spray bottles in a bucket to the more sophisticated model fitted with a pressure-activated foot sprayer now being installed in locations across north Auckland.
The new sophisticated stations make it simple for park users to scrub and spray their shoes with features like a rail to lean on, a seat to sit on, plenty of room for kids and extra spray guns for removing mud that might not come off shoes (or paws) first go.
Track access at Alice Eaves Scenic Reserve will be partially reinstated next month on the lower track up to the bridge following the installation of hygiene stations later this month. Full access is expected to be reinstated, including to the upper track, in early 2021 following track upgrade works and the installation of the final station.
Access to the Gills Road Reserve track is expected to be fully reinstated following track works and the installation of hygiene stations in autumn 2021.
Funding for the new hygiene stations comes from the council’s Natural Environment Targeted Rate, with $445,000 put aside for installations across the Auckland region in the current financial year. This includes stations installed in regional and local parks and at various wharves.