Introduction

The Department of Conservation has received reports of vehicles driving across the Waiotahi Spit Scenic Reserve, Opotiki, west of the pipi beds, causing damage to the dunes.

Date:  11 May 2012

Waiotahi Spit Scenic Reserve Vehicle Damage
Waiotahi Spit Scenic Reserve tracks
formed by vehicle damage

The Department of Conservation (DOC) has received reports of vehicles driving across the Waiotahi Spit Scenic Reserve, Opotiki, west of the pipi beds, causing damage to the dunes. An area of foredune is now degraded and exposed to further damage by high tides and during storm events.

Biodiversity Threats Ranger, Anastacia Kirk says DOC takes vehicle damage to the coastal environment seriously and appeals to the public to report any activity.

“This is one of our high value coastal reserves, and the least degraded of all the reserves in the area, so it is very disappointing to see this occurring”, says Ms Kirk.

Muehlenbeckia (pohuehue), a native low growing plant, does not tolerate repeated flattening, it is at risk of disappearing where vehicles are creating a defined track. Pohuehue is a key species in retaining the natural form of the dunes and is essential in reducing the effects of erosion.

The reserve is a regional treasure and unusual in that the area contains a sand spit, duneland, estuary, river mouth flats and coastal forest in combination. It is the home to both endangered plants and rare birds including the New Zealand dotterel, fern birds and banded rail. 

The area is jointly under the care of DOC, Coast Care and more recently the Bryans Beach Community Group, which have been actively undertaking weed and pest control, and re-establishing locally rare plants in the area.  

Please help to protect this area. If you see any vehicles driving across the dunes, call 0800 DOCHOT (0800 362 468) or DOC Opotiki on +64 7 315 1001.

Contact

Anastacia Kirk, Phone: +64 7 315 1001. Email: akirk@doc.govt.nz 

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