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Restoration wins Green Ribbon

Restoration wins Green Ribbon

Kapiti Coast stream and estuary project recognised in national awards Community action to restore one of the Wellington’s most degraded streams has been recognised in the 2004 Green Ribbon awards.

The Waitohu Stream Care Group won a Green Ribbon award for Excellence in Community Action for the Environment at the recent awards, organised by the Ministry for the Environment. The Kapiti coast group received their award at a ceremony at Parliament on Friday 4 June.

The national acknowledgement will inspire more Kiwis to look after and learn from their local environment, according to Greater Wellington’s Take Care co-ordinator Nigel Clarke.

The Green Ribbon award is an acknowledgement of the local community’s efforts to restore the health of a stream and estuary near Otaki, says Clarke. “The Waitohu Stream Care Group has been working hard and smart for the last six years to make a real difference. As well as carrying out practical work on the stream, estuary and sand dunes, the group has been working to ensure the whole community is behind the project."

He says the efforts are now showing results. “Over the last two years there has been an improvement in water quality. Three wetlands are being protected and restored, the foredunes are recovering, and migratory birds are returning.”

The success of the initiative is also illustrated by less damage being done to the beach and sand dunes, says Clarke. “Greater Wellington is providing more plants to replant tributaries upstream, while efforts are continuing to restore the lower reaches of the estuary.”

He says the regional council provides funds and support for community groups carrying out projects to improve their environment. “The Take Care programme enables established or new groups to sustainably manage or enhance rivers, streams, wetlands, estuaries, dunes and coastlines. We fund planning, preparation, planting, maintenance, environmental monitoring, signage, promotional activities and environmental education.”

The Waitohu Stream Care Group is one of 25 groups in the region to receive on-going support from Greater Wellington, along with five new projects started this year. “All the groups showcase what communities can do to help restore their own environment. The regional council is always keen to hear of new initiatives which will help the environment over the long term. We support projects which promote community involvement and help people take more responsibility in caring for the environment.”

Kapiti constituency regional councillor Chris Turver says news of the Waitohu Stream Care Group’s success is ‘absolutely fantastic’. “The Green Ribbon award in 2004 adds another acknowledgement to this group, making the Waitohu Stream Care Group a flagship for the regional council’s Take Care programme. Credit must be given to the group of 90 or so volunteers who have put their heart and soul into restoring a stream and estuary. They’ve done a heroic job and I am delighted that their efforts have again been recognised. It’s a great achievement for all involved.”

Cr Turver says Greater Wellington is currently working with local residents on water quality and flood protection issues for the Waitohu to develop a ‘whole stream’ approach to its future management. “It is all part of achieving a more sustainable region.”

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