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Coastal dunes need communities

Coastal dunes need communities

Coastal communities have a vital role in the future of Wellington region’s sand dunes, Greater Wellington Council Chairperson Margaret Shields said at the opening of the national Coastal Dune Vegetation conference in Wellington this week.

“Local authorities have been fortunate to draw upon the a wide range of skills and research throughout New Zealand in restoring coastal dunes, but we need communities to work with to ensure sand dunes remain part of our coastal environment.”

Councillor Shields says a number of communities have recognised the uniqueness of their sand dunes and established Coast Ccare groups through Greater Wellington’s Take Care programme, and with the help of in association with territorial authorities.

“Greater Wellington has provided the scientific expertise, some funding and staff to act as group facilitators, while the local people provide project management on the ground, such as growing plants, managing weeds and pests, and involving others in the community.”

It is a hard environment to work in, she says. “Sand dunes have temperamental plants, constantly changing physical formations and an the added bonus of being one of the most heavily used recreational zones – where people can cause mayhem for a coastal project.

“The most successful projects are those where local communities take a pride in their beaches and dunes, work together to rehabilitate them, and encourage responsible use of the coastal environment by others.”

More than 140 people are taking part in the four day conference, hosted by Greater Wellington along with Wellington City Council, Hutt City Council, Kapiti Coast District Council and Masterton District Council. The conference is based at Te Papa, with field trips to Wellington harbour, the Kapiti coast and the Wairarapa.

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