Date: 03 June 2009
The South Taupo Wetland Restoration Planting Project began on Tuesday 26 May with the local Department of Conservation Women’s Network and volunteers from the Tongariro Natural History Society planting the first 800 plants.
The planting at the Waiotaka wetland within the Waiotaka Scenic Reserve is part of a larger project to restore the wider South Taupo wetland. The South Taupo wetland is an area of around 1500ha at the southern end of Lake Taupo, stretching from Waihi to Punawhakaata.
Wetlands are vitally important for improving water quality. They support the greatest concentrations of bird life of any habitat in New Zealand and are very productive environments for supporting a diversity of species including endangered plant species.
Team relaxes after planting 800 trees
Prior to the planting, the site had been prepared by clearing the area of blackberry and drilling and poisoning the invasive grey and crack willow trees which can quickly multiply and overtake native species as well as drying up the wetland.
This initial planting work was funded by a grant from the Waikato Ecological Enhancement Trust (WCEET). One of the conservation outcomes for the South Taupo wetland restoration project is to restore and maintain a representative range of wetland vegetation types in a natural condition, specifically those that are particularly vulnerable to invasion by the grey and crack willow species. Another important aim is to re-vegetate the riparian stream and river margins with flood plain forest species.
The weather couldn’t have been better for the day with girls completing the planting in record time with a little help from a few keen boys. Plants chosen were locally sourced with some of the trees grown from seed in the Tongariro Natural History Society nursery. Species included Kahikatea, Ribbonwood, Mingimingi, Toe toe, Mahoe, Karamu, Kowhai and Manuka.
While the Department is currently working on public conservation land, it wants to showcase the planting to adjacent land owners to show them what great things can be achieved with these wonderful wetland environments.