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Wetland purchase completes conservation corridor

Wetland purchase completes conservation corridor

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Click to enlarge

Hon Steve Chadwick
Minister of Conservation

15 September 2008 Media Release

Wetland purchase completes conservation corridor

The purchase of 240 hectares of wetland and regenerating native forest in Waituna, Southland, will ensure the long term protection of this important ecological area, Conservation Minister Steve Chadwick said today.

“This land is a key addition to the Awarua/Waituna Wetland, as it links two internationally significant wetland blocks,” Steve Chadwick said.

“Less than 10 per cent of New Zealand’s wetlands remain and their preservation is a matter of national importance for the government.”

The $1 million block, purchased by the Nature Heritage Fund, joins the Waituna Wetland Scientific Reserve with the large Toestoes Conservation Area, both of which form part of New Zealand’s largest RAMSAR recognised wetland.

“Wetlands form part of our natural landscape, and play an important role in flood control and water quality, as well as offering opportunities for recreation such as fishing, hunting, whitebaiting, bird watching and scenic strolling.”

A third of New Zealand’s freshwater fish occur in wetlands and many endangered plants are dependent on wetlands.

“Wetlands are special in many ways. They are highly regarded for their educational, scientific, aesthetic, spiritual and cultural values. Wetlands are not just a place for scientists, they are for all New Zealanders to enjoy and value.

“This area’s ecosystem is a mosaic of different communities and it is imperative these outstanding natural qualities are protected for the future.

“I see this as a substantial ecological investment in Southland which will protect threatened flora and fauna and allow the area to return and remain in its natural state.”

The Nature Heritage Fund provides financial assistance to public agencies and private individuals to purchase or covenant land with high conservation values. The area purchased will be managed by the Department of Conservation.



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