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Estuary Care

Omokoroa Estuary Managers Group  - M Grainger

This is now a group of one.  I attend the regular estuary managers forum meetings hosted by the Regional Council.

The news is that the hovercraft project has been officially abandoned so mangrove seedling maintenance will remain manual.

There is a reasonable amount of work to do once the ‘season’ starts in September. The ‘inlets’ in Cooney Reserve are getting cluttered with new mangroves and this is a prime bird area that needs to be maintained as a functioning saltmarsh rather than be overrun by mangroves.

Along from there towards Lynley Park is another area that was never quite cleared to the official borders as marked by the white posts.  While good headway was made clearing that area last season there is still much to do. 

The sub-group, which focuses on an area of the Mangawhai estuary south of the railway causeway, has undertaken the following activities over the last 12 months:

  • Maintenance weed spraying ─ including a recent weed spray of the area previously
  • occupied by the pine woodlot logged last winter.
  • Pest control, targeting rats and possums.
  • Hand weeding in the newly planted areas of the original site.
  • Clearance of logging slash from the site extension.
  • Monitoring of mangrove and saltmarsh expansion.

Restoration planting planned for autumn (800 plants) has been postponed until autumn 2019. Unfortunately the plants have only just been received so consequently will be re-potted and grown on. Spring planting last year resulted in poor survival rates on the dry north-east facing banks.

During the next 12 months maintenance weed and pest control programmes will be maintained and restoration planting of selected areas will continue as planned. Additional waste-wood clearance will be required on the pines site, as well as removal of willow, bamboo, barberry and larger larger brush weeds.

A new fence will be erected to keep cattle out of the estuary to the east of the site. This area contains saltmarsh that will extend further once livestock are contained.

Paul Stewart

 

A pine woodlot occupying land adjacent to the current site has been logged over the last 2 months and the affected land will be included in the restoration programme at the site. The additional land comprises a coastal strip, approximately 600m long and 20m wide, which rises steeply from the estuary to a height of 10-12m.

Slash and waste wood resulting from the logging operation is currently being stacked and burned in preparation for weed control and ultimately restoration planting ─ which is expected to commence in 2020.

In addition, during the last 12 months, the Sub-Group has undertaken the following activities at the site:

  • Continuation of the maintenance weed spraying programme.
  • Continuation of the pest control programme targeting rats, stoats, rabbits and possums.
  • Monitoring of re-establishment of saltmarsh within the intertidal zone, where willows and pampas have been removed, coupled with selective weed removal where required.
  • Commencement of restoration planting, the first of 3 years planting planned for the original site area.

During the next 12 months maintenance weed and pest control programmes will be maintained and restoration planting of selected areas will continue as planned. Additional waste-wood clearance will be required on the pines site, as well as removal of gorse and larger brush weeds.

Paul Stewart

The mangrove group has not really re-established after the long hiatus inflicted upon us by the Regional Plan appeals process.  

Unfortunately, the mangroves did not take a break and there is a need to increase numbers and get back into maintenance mode.  A public day to clean the beaches and remove mangroves from the consented area was, unfortunately, rained out.

 

There has not been organised voluntary work done in the last year but a considerable milestone has been reached.

Last year the piles of cut Mangroves were removed by BOP Regional Council Contractors as well as cutting and removing by barge Mangrove clumps within the Mangawhai inlet. This was a major undertaking. Again this last Autumn an area within the inlet on the eastern side adjacent to the rail line the last of the Mangroves were removed. I believe this completes all the consented works and within the consent time frame. The consent for removal expires in 2017. It must be gratifying to all those who have worked tirelessly over many years to see this work completed. From the Community a big Thank you.

Council staff are checking that there are no areas where seedlings are taking over. It is pleasing to note that the planned hovercraft to remove seedlings will be in use after this bird breeding season ie March 2017.

Norm Bruning