Introduction

‘Restoration makes good monetary sense, it’s not just a tree-hugging exercise’ conservation volunteers told.

Date:  03 May 2013

More than 200 people attended the Wellington Region Restoration Day held in Silverstream recently. Restoration Day is a free conference for community groups and individuals involved with ecological restoration projects throughout the Wellington region.

Attendees were inspired by keynote speaker Fred Lichtwark, Manager of Whaingaroa Harbour Care, an immensely successful  Raglan based restoration programme, that through riparian planting stops sediment runoff from surrounding land improving water quality in the Harbour. Since 1995, the group has planted 1.1 million native trees along streams and harbour edges. He told the group how in the Whaingaroa catchment, more than 40 farmers have participated by fencing and planting an estimated 450km of riparian areas.

“After 17 years of riparian management, we’ve seen water quality improve dramatically in the Whaingaroa harbour. Whitebait catches have increased from 1/2 cup per day to 1/2 bucket per day. Mudflats previously barren of life are now teeming with crabs, shellfish & wading birds. Recreational fishers commonly can catch up to 9 large snapper in less than an hour,” said Fred Lichtwark.

“The farmers realised that through restoring waterways and removing one third of the unproductive areas that was continually costing them money through stock losses, drain digging and weed control, the production on their farms doubled. The programme works because there is money to be made out of it by the landowners. It’s not a tree-hugging exercise, it’s simply a matter of economics,” he said.

The day was co-hosted by the Department of Conservation and Greater Wellington Regional Council and offered workshops, presentations and field demonstrations. Attendees enjoyed workshops on building sustainable partnerships, monitoring toolbox, restoration planning, enrichment planting, live lizard monitoring, and live eels demonstration.

"Restoration Day is a great opportunity for us to recognise the people working to make our region a better place to live, and provide them with a range of practical skills and ideas to continue their great work," said Restoration Day Organiser, Amy Brasch from the Department of Conservation.   

Contact

Julie Buchanan, Community Relations Ranger, Kapiti Wellington
Ph: + 64 221 738 793
Email: jbuchanan@doc.govt.nz

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