Project Title: Waitekuri Wetland

Funding Close Date: 9 Aug 2019 ( 25 days remaining)

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Waikato

Region:
Waikato

Metres Planted:
223 m

Invested:
NZD $5806

Location: Whangapoua

GPS Coordinates: -36.751908, 175.600518

Project Cost: NZD $21164

Cost per Metre: NZD $26

Metres to be planted: 814m

Field Partner: Waikato Regional Council

Project ID: NI35

Project Description:

Our project

The Denize Family are 4th generation family farmers whose land is on the steep foothills of the Waitekuri Catchment at the gateway to the Whangapoua Harbour.  Part of the land is in pines, and the pasture is used for beef grazing. The landowners are excited to see innovative wetland restoration methods piloted on their land. The landowner, Mat Denize says “it’s great to be involved in this project, especially in such a sensitive catchment”.

Working with Waikato Regional Council, the landowners want to re-establish 13,600 m2 of wetland plants to provide habitat for native birds, fish and insects. An area at the base of the hills which floods in winter is an ideal place for the project site. Already pied stilt, New Zealand pipit and white faced heron use the area for foraging and we want to enhance this area so they have a year round wetland haven. As well as planting we will also be piloting the use of a constructed sediment trap. The project will be a showcase for other landowners.

The importance of wetlands in the catchment

Only a fraction of New Zealand’s wetlands are left and these are often fragmented. We want to do our bit to reverse wetland loss in our local Whangapoua Harbour area. Wetlands are habitat for birds to live, feed and breed. Wetlands at the bottom of a catchment and close to natural harbours, like this one, are the last stop in helping keep harbours from silting up and ensuring kai moana such as scallop beds remain healthy.

Wetlands also absorb high water flows during floods and hold that water, releasing it slowly back into the catchment. This makes them a great buffer against the effects of major flood events, which the Coromandel is prone to with its high rainfall and steep catchments.

What we want to achieve

We want to demonstrate how to successfully turn wet areas of often unproductive farmland into healthy wetland habitat. And we want to show how water quality and sediment issues can be addressed at the same time. We will invite other landowners to see the results of our project and hopefully inspire them to undertake similar work. Over time we can measure the changes at these sites to see what benefits they bring to wildlife. This area is habitat for the rare Australasian bittern. Over the years, people have seen them feeding here. These freshwater wetlands are within 700 metres of the harbour salt marsh wetlands and are helping to provide a fresh water wildlife corridor from the mountains to the sea.

By involving local students we will be giving them a place where they can monitor the changes these enhancement works have created from the very start. This is an intergenerational project that will foster the connection that we all have with these important habitats.

Progress so far

We have already fenced the area to keep out stock. This improves the integrity of the soil, and protects nests and planting. Site preparation is already well underway and we want to start planting native plants as soon as we can.

We need your support

We are raising $21,164 through Million Metres to pay for 5,000 plants to go into the ground this winter. This also includes the 15% Million Metres admin costs. All plants will be eco-sourced from Te Whangai Trust or Colville Harbour Care. The plants will be planted along 814m of stream and wetland, which will cover an area of 13,600 m2.

All other costs of the project such as site preparation, planting, sediment trap and 3 years of site maintenance will be covered by other sources. We hope to involve the local schools with planting too.

Any donation big or small is really appreciated. It will go towards restoring this important area and showcase what can be done to bring back vital wetland habitats.

Progress Photos: