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South Taranaki Town Embraces Rare Saltmarsh Habitat

Pātea Saltmarsh. Photo/Supplied

Spades hit the ground in Pātea on World Environment Day, as South Taranaki District Council (STDC) staff and community volunteers worked together to plant 500 buffer plants next to the Pātea Saltmarsh.

The day marked another important milestone of many in STDC’s journey to protect the region’s largest saltmarsh. Having been included in Taranaki regional Council’s Key Native Ecosystem programme, the two councils are now working together with the local community to protect and enhance the site of significant ecological value, which has been classified as ‘acutely threatened’.

South Taranaki District Council’s Reforestation Coordinator, Joe Churchman, is leading the project and says the saltmarsh plays a crucial role in coastal ecosystems.

“The saltmarsh is a habitat to bird species, freshwater fish, and reptiles.

Protecting and restoring the saltmarsh is essential to maintaining biodiversity and ecological balance.”

Saltmarsh habitats are rare in Taranaki, reinforcing the significance in preserving the site in the best possible condition.

“Our efforts will focus on fencing off the saltmarsh to prevent damage from livestock, buffer planting to enhance the habitat and improve water quality, as well pest plant and animal control” Joe says.

“Monitoring plots will also be set up to better understand how the area is changing over time.”

The saltmarsh can be seen while crossing over the Pātea River bridge on State Highway 3 at the southern end of the town.

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