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Wetland Restoration Reaches Milestone

Ten thousand wetland plants have now been added to Taupō Swamp, a milestone in restoration work supported by Ngāti Toa Rangatira and Greater Wellington.

From left: Judy McKoy (FOTSC), Steve Wilson (Te Rito Gardens – plant supplier), CR Jenny Brash, Bill McAulay (FOTSC), Mike Jebson (Former QEII NT CEO).

Placing the 10,000th plant in the swamp, Greater Wellington Councillor Jenny Brash reflected on the beginnings of the community group set up to spearhead the restoration, Friends of Taupō Swamp and Catchment (FOTSC).

“Four years ago, I connected Judy McKoy and Bill McAulay, who shared concerns about the wetland, with Mike Jebson, the then chief executive of the QEII National Trust,” Brash said.

“Over coffee at the local corner cafe, they discussed the future of the swamp and the FOTSC group was born.”

Wetlands are of monumental importance to our environment and communities. They provide habitats for animals and plants, maintain water quality, reduce the impacts of flooding and drought, and sequester carbon.

The landmark plant (a Kahikatea) will live in the Porirua City Council owned section of the swamp, adjacent to Ulric Street in Plimmerton.

The northern section, a harakeke dense area, is owned and managed by the QEII National Trust, who FOTSC has worked closely with on willow control and restoration of fire-affected areas.

Greater Wellington’s involvement in Taupō Swamp started with weed control back in 1981. Today it has been recognised as an outstanding natural wetland and a Key Native Ecosystem.

The swamp lays claim to some of the highest biodiversity values of wetlands (top 8%) in the region and is home to native plants and at-risk animals, including the spotted crake or pūweto, and giant kōkopu.

“With so few of these unique habitats remaining, we fully support the restoration and protection of natural wetlands on public and private land,” Brash added.

FOTSC management committee member Judy McKoy said over 6000 hours of voluntary work had led to the milestone but there was still much to do.

“From our new base on the Composting NZ site in Plimmerton, we continue to engage with local businesses next to the wetland and encourage them to support the restoration however they can, be it pest control, maintenance weeding, removal of rubbish or donations for plants,” Mckoy said.

“With planting to continue, FOTSC is hugely grateful for the wide support coming from so many organisations and individuals.”

At a special on-site event held last month, McKoy acknowledged the support of Greater Wellington’s Community Environment Fund to the ongoing restoration effort.

“10,000 plants, all our tools, the lodging of submissions concerning the wetland; it’s underpinned by the support we have had,” McKoy said.

“The achievements to date and our future work in the wetland are a product of hard work and key funding from the Community Environment Fund.”

The fund is a joint initiative between Greater Wellington and Ngāti Toa Rangatira to support community groups to restore, maintain and protect native ecosystems in the Porirua area.

Information on the types of community projects that can receive funding from Greater Wellington can be found at www.gw.govt.nz/communityfunding.

© Scoop Media

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