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Island Bay seaweed not related to marine reserve

17 October 2007

Island Bay seaweed not related to new marine reserve

Seaweed on Island Bay beach at the moment is a perfectly normal occurrence and not a consequence of the new marine reserve or changes in maintenance levels.

The article in today’s Dominion Post (Friday 17 October – page A8) is misleading because it implies that Wellington City Council has stopped removing seaweed and driftwood from the beach since the Taputeranga Reserve was established in August.

City Council Parks and Gardens Manager Paul Andrews, who lives at Island Bay, says in terms of beach maintenance, nothing has changed at Island Bay.

“We have not removed seaweed from the beach for many years,” he says. “Very occasionally after a severe southerly storm in summer, or when a there is an event like a Big Dig planned, we have shifted seaweed to another part of the beach, but this is not done routinely.

“The reality is, this beach is on the South Coast and regularly has seaweed deposited on it. It wouldn’t make economic sense to go in after every southerly blow and try to keep it seaweed free and that has certainly not been our practice.”

Regulations associated with the new marine reserve only apply on the seaward side of the highest high-tide mark, so the Council can move seaweed and driftwood that is above that point and will continue to do so occasionally if there is a particular issue, or a clear space is required for a special event. The Council also occasionally redistributes sand that has built up against the seawall and this will continue.

Some South Coast locals have traditionally taken seaweed for their gardens. They can still do this provided they take it from above the highest high-tide mark.

Mr Andrews says seaweed in the tidal zone – between the high and low-tide marks – usually disappears with the next high tide.

“It’s important that nature is left to take its course because seaweed does play an important role in the food chain and also aids sand retention.”


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