The Million Metres Streams Project is delighted to be supporting the restoration of the Hoteo River Catchment - Auckland's largest, covering almost eight per cent of the Auckland region's land area. Situated north of the city, the river spans virtually the entire island, with its head waters on the east coast near Omaha/Te Arai and its mouth on the mighty Kaipara Harbour.
Together, the Forest Bridge Trust and Auckland Council want to support and develop catchment restoration, and this project is hopefully the first of many that will see the water quality and biodiversity of the catchment recovering over time.
The big challenge for the Hoteo River and the Kaipara Harbour is the amount of sediment degrading the water quality and biodiversity of both the river and the seagrass meadows which are breeding grounds for 90% of the North Island’s West Coast snapper population. Some sources of the sediment are cleared land and unstable unvegetated river banks in the Hoteo catchment, and even the river channel itself.
In this landscape, there are many farmers making a living from their activities. The good news is that these farmers have a good understanding of the environmental impacts of their activities, and an even greater degree of concern for the state of their land and water.
That's where the Forest Bridge Trust comes in. Initiated by the farmers themselves, this Trust supports outstanding land stewardship across the narrow isthmus, and is helping farmers find ways to overcome challenges such as marginal profits and lack of time to do something about their environment.
With Auckland Council support, the Forest Bridge Trust plans to plant a bridge of green, linking the west coast with the east, with the Hoteo and tributary streams as the focus. By fencing and planting the river and tributaries, landowners will prevent sediment and phosphates entering waterways and provide habitat for native fish, insects and birds. This activity will also help to prevent sediment smothering those all-important seagrass meadows, and in the long term help protect snapper populations.
The plan is to start at the Hoteo’s headwaters at a tributary, the Waiteitei Stream. Here the stream flows through John and Geraldine Taylor’s 178ha drystock farm, Tomarata Farms. Bordering the DOC Te Arai reserve to the north, it’s easy to see how this restoration will contribute to the envisaged native corridor. John and Geraldine have been fencing their waterways, gullies and wetlands for ten years, and this fundraising will help them pay for plants in the first part of the revegetation.
John and Geraldine believe that you can’t farm now like you did 50 years ago and that farmers need to make a mind shift to embrace environmental challenges. They recognise that we are caretakers of the land and that we need to leave it in better condition than we found it.
Million Metres hopes that this is the first of many projects that we’ll help fundraise for the Forest Bridge Trust on the Hoteo. From small acorns, big trees grow!
John and Geraldine’s project is online now. Check it out.