Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Council “cagey” About Eels As School Boosts Wetlands

Wairarapa's water critters were getting pampered this week.

The NZ longfin eel pictured near the gabion cages installed in Makoura Stream. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Three gabion cages will provide a safe habitat for eels in Masterton's Makoura waterway.

Further downstream, students at Kahutara School in South Wairarapa have also been tending to the local aquatic fauna.

Masterton District Council [MDC] has worked with Greater Wellington Regional Council [GWRC] to have the rock-filled cages after work carried out on erosion near the bridge reduced habitat for eels and other fish, and aquatic invertebrates.

The cages, supplied by MDC and installed and filled without charge by Citycare, are designed to give fish and invertebrates space to hide amongst the stones. The cages also contain pipes to be used as caves by larger eels.

“They’re designed to provide a habitat that replicates the natural conditions fish appreciate and help replace some of the habitat that was lost due to the erosion protection works,” MDC senior advisor Phil Evans said.

“Amongst the stones, fish and invertebrates will find it dark, and safe from predators.”

Greater Wellington freshwater ecologist Alton Perrie said the gabion cages were a good solution to trial to help mitigate the habitat lost for the eels and other aquatic life.

“Eels, in particular, are a feature of the aquatic life in the Makoura stream and are considered a taonga [treasure] by the community living beside the stream.

“Members of the community can be regularly seen congregating at the stream to feed and observe the eels.

“We hope the gabion cages will provide habitat to allow the eel population and other aquatic life to thrive.”

Further south, Kahutara School pupils were adding their support to a long term ecology programme.

For the past three years, students have been helping develop a wetland after participating in the Whitebait Connection programme which was led by the Mountains to Sea Wellington group, also supported by GRWC.

The land where the wetland has been developed was donated by grandparents of a former student in 2017 and the restoration work had been integrated into the school's curriculum.

Micheline Evans, GWRC biodiversity advisor, said three years on students were already seeing the positive changes.

This included flourishing locally sourced kowhai, kahikatea, harakeke, cabbage trees, black beech, and frequent visits from kotare, ducks, and the occasional white heron.

Evans said educational and environmental projects provided practical opportunities to support the student's wellbeing while setting the region up for success "by leaving a healthy and thriving biodiversity legacy".

Kahutara School deputy principal Hamish McRae agreed.

"It's the small things like our students all picking a tree to research and name that build their sense of connection and belonging with the area.

"Some of these children will grow up to become farmers, so it's awesome they can begin to appreciate the value of these activities.

"We can see children making connections between the conservation work they are already doing on their family farms, like trapping and planting."

He said the school couldn't have transformed this once-was muddy paddock into a thriving ecosystem without further support from numerous community groups, like South Wairarapa Rotary and Featherston's Own Charitable Trust.

The school was recently visited by Scottish dragonfly experts, Ruary MacKenzie Dodds and Kari de Koenigswarter who showed students that the wetland is a hotspot of baron dragonfly larvae.

There are also plans to include QR codes on trees along a community track around the wetland for visitors to learn about species' history.

Greater Wellington councillor Adrienne Staples said she hoped the venture inspired others to start their own projects.

"The young generation is paving the way for a greener, healthier and a more resilient future through kaupapa like these."

More information about GWRC's sustainable schools programmes can be found online at gw.govt.nz/stuff-for-schools.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Reese Erlich: Foreign Correspondent: Trump Plays Both Sides Against The Middle

Is he a hawk? Is he a peacenik? The President keeps us guessing . By Reese Erlich President Donald Trump has convinced Republican isolationists and hawks that he supports their views. That’s a neat trick, since the two groups hold opposing positions. ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Waiting For The Old Bailey: Julian Assange And Britain’s Judicial Establishment

On September 7, Julian Assange will be facing another round of gruelling extradition proceedings, in the Old Bailey, part of a process that has become a form of gradual state-sanctioned torture. The US Department of Justice hungers for their man. The More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The Sorry Plight Of The International Education Sector

Tourism and international education have been two of the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic. They’re both key export industries. Yet the government response to them has been strikingly different. There has been nothing beyond a few words of ministerial condolence and a $51.6 million package (details below) to get the sector through the pandemic...
More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Google’s Open Letter: Fighting Australia’s News Media Bargaining Code

Tech giants tend to cast thin veils over threats regarding government regulations. They are also particularly concerned by those more public spirited ones, the sort supposedly made for the broader interest. Google has given us an example of this ... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Trump’s Current Chances Of Re-Election

By now it seems clear that National have no fresh ideas to offer for how New Zealand could avoid the Covid-19 economic crisis. As in the past, National has set an arbitrary 30% ratio of government debt to GDP that it aims to achieve “in a decade or so,” ... More>>

The Conversation: Rogue Poll Or Not, All The Signs Point To A Tectonic Shift In New Zealand Politics

Richard Shaw AAP(various)/NZ Greens (CC-BY-SA)/The Conversation Strong team. More jobs. Better economy. So say the National Party’s campaign hoardings. Only thing is, last Sunday’s Newshub-Reid Research poll – which had support for the Labour ... More>>

The Coronavirus Republic: Three Million Infections And Rising

The United States is famed for doing things, not to scale, but off it. Size is the be-all and end-all, and the coronavirus is now doing its bit to assure that the country remains unrivalled in the charts of infection . In time, other unfortunates may well ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Altars Of Hypocrisy: George Floyd, Protest And Black Face

Be wary what you protest about. The modern moral constabulary are out, and they are assisted by their Silicon Valley friends in the Social Media club. Should you dare take a stand on anything, especially in a dramatic way, you will be found out ... More>>