Date: 12 August 2020
An inconspicuous bit of land near Pongakawa in the Bay of Plenty has been transformed. Hands big and small have joined together to give native plants a new home on the grassy banks of the Wharere Canal.
DOC Operations Manager Jeff Milham said the site had been grazed by local farmers for many years but DOC made a decision to retire the land and work to return it to a more natural state.
“We are thrilled to see the community support at the planting day.” Mr Milham said.
Over 100 people, including students from Fairhaven School and staff from ANZ Bank along with the local community, helped plant more than 2000 native plants. The plants were generously donated by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council (BOPRC) for the retired pasture land. They will help keep the waterway clean and the wetland habitat healthy and productive.
The event was organized by Sustainable Coastlines as part of their Love Your Water Tour 2020, in collaboration with local community conservation group Maketū Ongatoro Wetlands Society.
BOPRC Land Management Officer Richard Lyons said the vision is to create a corridor for nature from the coast to the hills.
“Planting this site creates an extension of the nearby Waihi Estuary Wildlife Management Reserve and wetland and helps towards this vision,” Mr Lyons said.
The marginal strip is an access point to the nearby wildlife reserve which is home to a variety of special and endangered wetland bird species including Australasian bittern. The reserve is available to the public, can be accessed by foot and has a no dogs rule to protect the wildlife.
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