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Coast Care celebrates end of season


MEDIA RELEASE


Coast Care celebrates end of season

For immediate release: Thursday 18 September 2003

Coast Care volunteers are celebrating their ninth successful season of planting the region’s sand dunes.

Over the last few months, hundreds of people have braved all types of weather to help plant more than 31,000 native dune plants from Waihi Beach to Cape Runaway (Tihirau).

Now, as the season ends, Coast Care coordinator Greg Jenks wants to commend and congratulate all volunteers for their “enthusiasm and ongoing commitment to the work of strengthening the coast’s sand dunes”. It was not just physical input but “an intellectual commitment to improving the coastal environment”, he explains.

Environment Bay of Plenty and the coastal district councils set up Coast Care Bay of Plenty to encourage and empower residents of coastal communities to actively look after their local beaches. The programme has been a huge success, Mr Jenks says.

In nine years, Coast Care volunteers had planted more than 200,000 plants, which is equivalent to replanting over 30km of dunes, with the focus on the more vulnerable areas of coastline. A few beaches, like Whakatane’s Coastlands, have been planted fully by community members, and so the dunes are now sustainably repairing themselves after storm events, Mr Jenks says. Others will get to that state in the next two years.

Mr Jenks says natural dunes are the best way of buffering the land from the sea. “Exposed sand is rapidly carried away by wind. So dunes must be covered in vegetation – preferably native - if they are to be most effective in helping protect the coastline.”

ENDS

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