Waikanae Estuary Care Group’s efforts boosted
The Waikanae Estuary Care Group will be stocking up their plant nursery to help restore the Lower North Island’s second most valuable estuarine environment following a $20,000 grant from the Department of Conservation (DOC) Community Fund.
The Waikanae Estuary Scientific Reserve, established in 1987, protects a natural mosaic of freshwater and coastal ecosystems in what is today an urbanised area. The Waikanae Estuary Care Group has been working hard since 2006 to maintain and restore the estuary.
The Care Group will receive $20,000 over the next 21 months from the Community Fund, which will go towards growing of some 3500 native eco-sourced plants in the Care Group’s own nursery in the estuary.
“This grant will support and grow our existing work to improve the Waikanae Estuary for both the flora, fauna and the public,” says Robin Gunston, chairman of the Care Group.
“Increased urbanisation has seen the estuary habitats reduced in area, and they are also subject to an increasing range of pressures about their use. A key part of the Care Group’s work is not only to restore but demonstrate to the public how they can protect and care for the
Scientific Reserve that they use regularly, but often take for granted.”
An additional 2000 plants will be specially sourced and grown to go alongside the main estuary path, aimed at radically enhancing the public perception of the Scientific Reserve. The nursery will be updated, with renewed shade house growing and plant-out capacity. Planting will be enhanced by environmentally friendly plant shelters, which are more effective and reusable.
The Care Group will also invest in weed clearing equipment and small sprayers, and train volunteers in their safe use.
Jack Mace, Department of Conservation Kapiti Wellington Operations Manager, has congratulated the Care Group on the substantial contribution it has made to the estuary over many years.
“The Waikanae Estuary Care Group is an effective and growing organisation, making a real contribution to conservation and to its community. It’s a great example of how community groups and DOC can work together on shared projects,” he says.
“The Waikanae Estuary and the wider river catchment are special places, and DOC is working with iwi, the community and fellow government agencies on environmental restoration. Initiatives like the Waikanae ki Uta ki Tai project, and the invaluable work the Care Group are doing, all highlight the growing recognition that these places have significant valuable.”