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Helping hand for Far North’s wetlands

Date: 28 November, 2012

Helping hand for Far North’s wetlands

The Far North is home to some of Northland’s biggest and best wetlands and landowners are being encouraged to look after them in a Northland Regional Council mailout.

Biodiversity Specialist Lisa Forester says more than 400 landowners of 111 wetlands in the Far North District are being contacted by the regional council to offer them advice and possible funding assistance for fencing and pest control.

Ms Forester says this week’s mailout is part of the regional council’s ‘Northland Top Wetlands’ project, which began in 2009 and involved ranking wetlands to find the best 150 in the region.

Wetland owners in the Kaipara District were contacted last year and those in Whangarei in April and May this year, resulting in several wetlands being fenced and others now in the process of being covenanted.

Northland’s wetlands are found on land owned by a mixture of private individuals, the Department of Conservation, Far North District Council and other organisations.

“We recognise that many of these wetlands are still in good condition because their owners are already looking after them, but we are still hoping that wetland owners in the Far North will want to talk to us.”

Ms Forester – who is leading the project – says that in the past more than 20 percent of Northland’s region was covered with vast swamps, bogs and gumlands, but 95% of those have been cleared. The region’s largest areas of wetland are now concentrated north of Kaitaia.

“While it might appear that the Far North has plenty of wetlands, because the rest of the region is so depleted, every wetland is special, even the smaller ones.”

Ms Forester hopes the regional council’s offer of advice and assistance will help landowners understand just how special and important wetlands are to the region.

“These letters do not mean a wetland has been registered against your title nor have any additional effect on the use of your property, as significant wetlands already have protection under the Resource Management Act. Consents are required from the Northland Regional Council to undertake works or clearance that might affect them.”

She says wetlands are an all-too-often under-appreciated and remarkable part of the environment and play a vital role in the region’s water quality and wellbeing.

“Apart from providing habitat for birds and plants wetlands do an incredible job of storing water, cleaning sediment and nutrients from runoff and helping to prevent flooding”.

Ms Forester says people interested in learning more about the top wetlands project – or who believe they have received a letter in error – can contact her at the regional council on (0800) 002 004.


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