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Wilderness calls on World Wetlands Day

Media Release

31 January 2013

Wilderness calls on World Wetlands Day

Wetlands are valuable places for wildlife and in Hawke’s Bay there are some interesting spots to explore on World Wetlands Day, Saturday 2 February.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council has lead the restoration of a number of wetlands in recent years.

Pekapeka Wetland alongside State Highway 2 has been very popular for visitors since the interpretation centre was opened by HBRC in 2010.

This year, Pekapeka Wetland has been entered in a national landscape award by Shannon Bray, the landscape architect who designed the interpretation site, and judges will be visiting the wetland in the next month.

“Pekapeka is really flourishing and if you visit in the middle of the day and wear good polaroid sunglasses, there’s a good chance you will see lots of eels in the water,” says Steve Cave, HBRC Operations Environmental Manager.

“As each breeding season passes, we expect people visiting the wetland will enjoy closer encounters with the birdlife, because birds hatched since the construction of the boardwalks are used to having people nearby.” (see photo)

The wetland is very accessible, with a carpark off the main highway, lime sand paths and boardwalks, and seating at look out points. Interpretation signs explain aspects of the history and environmental value of this significant wetland. Hawke’s Bay Regional Council has had the support of a number of community organisations in developing the wetland, including Friends of Pekapeka and Rotary, funding from Eastern and Central Community Trust, and the work of school students and environmental groups.

More wetlands are being protected for their habitat value, flood protection and healthy landscape. In the north of the region, people can take a look at the restoration of Opoutama Wetland where the local Te Mahia School has been very involved in planting native trees, weeding and clearing rubbish.

For people in the main Hawke’s Bay cities, Ahuriri Estuary in Napier is very close and has been fortunate to have had a dedicated group of volunteers caring for it for many years. A new Hawke’s Bay Trail makes it easy to cycle or walk to see birds in this wilderness area.

Although Hawke’s Bay looks like a dry landscape, it has plenty of small wetlands. Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s science team is progressively compiling an inventory of the wetlands in the region.

In 2011 an inventory of the Tukituki catchment was completed and reported on as part of the State of the Environment report. HBRC identified 446 wetlands covering a land/water area of 578 hectares in this catchment. Palustrine wetlands are fed by groundwater and rain but aren’t connected with a river system, and these are the most common wetlands in the Tukituki catchment. Of the 370 of these, 151 are small farm dams and ponds.

The catchment contains 55 riverine wetlands that are directly connected to a river (such as Mangaoho Marsh), 19 lacustrine wetlands associated with lakes (including Lake Hatuma), and 2 estuarine wetlands (both at the Tukituki river mouth).

The variety of wetland types in Hawke’s Bay provides fresh and saline water habitats for fish, frogs, birds, insects and the many specialist plants that thrive with wet feet.

This year, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s science team is collating a wetland inventory for the Ngaruroro river catchment.


Note - Hawke’s Bay Regional Council recommends the National Wetland Trust of NZ website as an excellent resource with specific information about World Wetlands Day: http://www.wetlandtrust.org.nz/wwday.html

ENDS


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