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Mechanical removal of mangroves to begin

Mechanical removal of mangroves to begin

When the key turns in the excavator on 14 January 2010 it will mark the beginning of the first mechanical removal of mangroves in Tauranga Harbour.

Members of the public are invited to join Environment Bay of Plenty councillors and staff, Estuary Care groups members and invited guests from 11am at Matua Estuary at the end of Bay Street in Matua to celebrate the start of the mechanical removal programme.

Environment Bay of Plenty Chairman John Cronin said the mechanical mangrove removal was testament to the hard work and determination of the community groups.

“Mechanically removing the mangroves is intended to be a helping hand for the very hard physical work that has been undertaken by the community to remove mangroves manually, however the onus remains on the community and Estuary Care groups to maintain the areas in the long term,” Chairman Cronin said.

“It will allow the Estuary Care groups more time and energy to focus on other aspects of estuary restoration and maintaining areas free of mangroves,” he said.

Environment Bay of Plenty received resource consent to mechanically remove up to 92 hectares of mangroves from the harbour in August 2009. The consent period is for two years from 1 January 2010.

The mechanical removal is for areas that are already consented for removal by 10 Estuary Care groups across Tauranga Harbour. The Matua Estuary site is expected to take no more than two days, with Omokoroa and Athenree next on the list. Environment Bay of Plenty anticipates it will take four to five months to complete all 11 sites.

Waiotahi Contracting Director Graham Mills said his company is looking forward to the challenging project. “A lot of time has gone into establishing the methodology for this innovative approach to the problem and we are looking forward to putting it into action on the harbour,” Mr Mills said.

The low ground pressure machine has a mulching unit attached and will exert approximately 2psi ground pressure - significantly less than a human footprint.

ENDS

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