The money is flowing in and the birdlife flowing back ... but it's early days yet.
Nelson Mail reporter Naomi Arnold checks progress on the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary in this great article from The Nelson Mail.
The birds are coming down out of the hills and back into our lives. There's been a skinny brown weka poking around the bushes near the Nelson Post Shop during the last couple of weeks, and others spotted running through the gardens of The Wood.
There are more kereru weighing down city branches, more tui on the flaxes, and more bellbirds in Richmond gardens. In fact, there are more birds around here than there have been for years.
Their increasing numbers are due to the pest-trapping programmes in the hills from Richmond to Delaware Bay, which have been wiping out rats, stoats, possums, and more.
But those behind the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary, an ambitious conservation project at the head of Nelson's Brook Valley, want more.
The old water reserve is already a biological haven, a dense pocket of mature beech, podocarp and broadleaf forest, some of which has never been felled. As trapping, tree-planting, weeding and track works progress in the valley - which includes 17,000 pests killed in fewer than six years and 80km of new tracks cut - it's also become full of new life. Pairs of little green rifleman, each weighing less than a $1 coin, have been spotted raising successful clutches. There are more robins, more falcons, and trappers even report hearing kaka at the tops.
Brook Sanctuary general manager Hudson Dodd says all that is excellent news - but only to a point. "It tells the story of a need for a fence."
The trust behind the sanctuary wants to build a pest-proof fence surrounding the valley, capable of blocking predators, from mice to deer.