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Fish & Game protecting Wairarapa's watery treasures

Fish & Game protecting Wairarapa's watery treasures

Ahead of World Wetlands Day (February 2) Wellington Fish & Game is reflecting on the efforts of past generations of hunters who had a long battle to protect the Lake Wairarapa wetlands.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the protection of wetlands around Lake Wairarapa with a Water Conservation Order (WCO) which affords nationally significant waterways the equivalent protection status of a National Park.

Phil Teal, regional manager of Wellington Fish & Game, says that without the foresight and dedication of hunters in the area the wetlands around Lake Wairarapa would not be here today.

“Fish & Game put a huge amount of effort into protecting the wetlands from draining in the 1970s and 1980s, culminating in a WCO being granted in 1989,” says Mr Teal.

“This provided the legal protection required to ensure major development plans by the Wairarapa Catchment Board (the predecessor of Greater Wellington Regional Council) were not pursued.”

Fish & Game and hunters continue to actively manage wetlands in the Lake Wairarapa area and beyond for conservation outcomes.

“Most of this work by Fish & Game and dedicated hunters goes under the radar, but the benefits to habitat for waterfowl and other rare species from this maintenance and enhancement work should not be underestimated,” Says Mr Teal.

“There are many hunters passionate about doing work in wetlands as they see habitat as the key for waterfowl sustainability. The contribution that hunters have made to the conservation of the Lake Wairarapa wetlands is significant and should not be overlooked.

“It’s taken many decades but as a society we are starting to appreciate what wetlands we have left, albeit only a few percent remain. This weekend we are celebrating the efforts of past hunters who have given us that legacy.”

World Wetlands Day is an international event that is celebrated on February 2each year and is aimed at raising awareness of the value of wetlands in the environment.

For more information on Water Conservation Orders and the protection of Lake Wairarapa, visit: www.outstandingrivers.org.nz


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