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Charlesworth Wetland team nominated for Weedbuster Award

30 June, 2014

MEDIA RELEASE

Charlesworth Wetland team nominated for Weedbuster Award

The Charlesworth Wetland Reserve Maintenance Team has been nominated for the Canterbury 2014 Weedbuster Awards for helping make sure the Charlesworth Wetland Reserve in Christchurch remains weed free while restoring it over the last six years.

The maintenance team is a subgroup of the Avon-Heathcote Estuary Ihutai Trust. The trust was formed in 2002 with the vision, “Communities working together for Clean Water – Open Space- Safe Recreation and Healthy Ecosystems that we can all enjoy and respect”.

The Weedbuster Awards are supported by Environment Canterbury, the Department of Conservation and Canterbury territorial authorities.

Charlesworth Wetland Reserve is a 20-hectare saltwater and freshwater wetland located next to the Avon-Heathcote Estuary.

Christchurch City Council Park Ranger Andrew Crossland says he has been working with an excellent team of 14 volunteers. “Between them they have donated around 900 and 1100 hours a year to weeding and restoring Charlesworth Wetland,” he said. “Their continued commitment has seen the wetland turn into an enjoyable place for the community to visit and get close with nature so close to the city limits.”

Most of the volunteers’ time is spent on keeping the reserve weed free while restoring the area with planting and mulching. In addition to their weedbusting skills the volunteers have sought and received support from a range of organisations to assist promotion of Charlesworth Wetland and educating the public on the importance of wetlands overall.

State Insurance, Arc Innovations, Trees for Canterbury, St Andrews College, Coca Cola Ltd staff, residents of the adjacent Brookhaven subdivision, Ibis hotels, Acor hotels, Christs College, Telecom, The Open Polytechnic, Holcim New Zealand Ltd and members of the public have helped plant seedlings.

The team also approached the local Mitre10 Megastore to support the project. Ferrymead Mitre10 Megastore responded by sponsoring all the materials required to assemble six seats. These are located so the public can relax and enjoy the scenery.

To date almost 100,000 plants have been planted, including 7000 plants this financial year. The team also gives regular guided walks to educate the public on the importance of this unique little wetland.

Since 2008 this dedicated team’s work has increased flora and fauna as well as transforming an area with a history of a mid-1800s industrial area, a dumping ground for bitumen and concrete and farmland back into a wetland for everyone to enjoy.

This reserve is challenging to restore as it has a high seedling mortality rate due to poor soil and harsh environmental conditions with dry summers, frost and earthquake damage.

Andrew Crossland says Charlesworth Wetland Reserve Maintenance Team is a great example of how dedication and collaboration can bring a community together to help protect and restore natural areas. "Their ongoing commitment to Charlesworth Wetland is protecting an important roosting, nesting and feeding area for native and migratory bird species including Pied Stilt, Alaskan Bar-tailed godwit, Banded Dotterel, Paradise Shelduck, Grey Teal, New Zealand Shoveler, White-faced Heron, New Zealand Pipit and Bellbird. But over and above this they share their love and knowledge of the wetland with their community,” he said.

According to Weedbuster Award coordinators Alan McDonald (Department of Conservation) and Gemma Livingstone (Environment Canterbury): “It’s nice to have the opportunity through Weedbusters to give recognition and thanks to volunteers for their contribution towards protecting New Zealand’s native biodiversity through weed control.” Weedbuster Awards will be made later in 2014.

To find out more about the Charlesworth Maintenance Team, check them out on Facebook. For more about Weedbusters, visitwww.weedbusters.org.nz


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