Matapu School and the Taranaki Regional Council release Tradescantia Leaf Beetles into McDonald’s Glen

McDonald’s Glen is a 1.2 ha bush remnant located on the Kapuni Stream near Todd’s Kapuni J wellsite. The Glen has a high biodiversity value locally, and is being restored by Todd Energy, Matapu School and the Taranaki Regional Council (TRC).

“Forest remnants like McDonald’s Glen are particularly rare in the southern ring plain area,” says Dean Caskey, TRC’s Senior Environment Officer – Biodiversity.
“A remnant of old Tawa forest that’s relatively intact is a jewel locally, and because of this we designated this area a Key Native Ecosystem (KNE), meaning it contains regionally significant ecosystems and species. In 2018 we developed a biodiversity plan, to make sure the Glen is cared for and restored in the best way possible.”

Biodiversity efforts since 2018 include fencing and stock exclusion, infill planting, weed control, and predator control with Matapu School students setting up and regularly clearing a small trap network. This
winter, additional infill planting and weed control will occur.

In March, Matapu School students, together with the TRC, released about 100 Tradescantia Leaf Beetles into the Glen, to help control the weed Tradescantia (or ‘Wandering Willie’).

Wandering Willie is rife throughout the Glen where it thrives on the shaded forest floor making a thick vegetation mat that stops native seeds from taking root. Tradescantia Beetles are native to South America and only feed on Wandering Willie leaves, and have been released throughout New Zealand to help control Wandering Willie.

“We hope that the beetle population will really take off and help to significantly reduce the Wandering Willie in the Glen,” says Evelien Wallace, Todd’s Environmental Coordinator.

“The progress of the beetle population will be tracked over the coming months and years and, so far, we’ve seen positive signs, with beetle bite marks visible on some leaves near the release site. Hopefully this is the solution we need to allow native seedlings to thrive in the Glen, and with any luck all our combined efforts to regenerate the bush will allow it to flourish in years to come.”