Although you could be forgiven for thinking that if you were looking on the blog before now. It’s just that I’ve been too busy doing the work to write about it!
The theme for World Wetlands Day this year is “Caring for wetlands – an answer to climate change”, so it seems quite approriate that on 2nd February I hosted the signing of a joint agency partnership between DOC, Environment Waikato and Environment Bay of Plenty to improve co-ordination and collaboration of agency and comunity efforts to protect and enhance the ‘natural capital’ of the Kaimai Mamaku catchments from mountains (Kaimai Mamaku ranges) to sea (Tauranga Harbour and Firth of Thames).
Through funding from the Ministry for the Environment, the NZ Landcare Trust will be helping us to implement the Kaimai Catchments project, it’s all very new and there will be more information to come.
For our public World Wetlands Day event, we decided not to compete with Auckland Anniversary and Waitangi weekends so we’ll be celebrating on Sunday 14th February with a family fun day at Kaituna wetland. The day will include an official opening of our new kayak trail, a guided nature walk, and other family activities.
Ranger Pete has been really busy making arrangements for the event, and some of us had to do a test run last week to make sure everything was going to be OK on the day and make sure that we have accurate information for visitors. Barb will hate me for putting this photo up, but it shows just how much fun can be had on the kayak trail.
A reponse from the Warkworth Area DOC office:
It is great that there are local people like you Frances taking an interest in the wildlife of the Sandspit area. We recognise that the proposed marina will have some effects on the area, however we also recognise that it is already modified & the Environmnetal Impact Assessmnet from the applicant addressed these points. From our observations, shorebirds & waders (including Godwits, in low numbers) use the entire estuary, & the area to be modified by the proposal is one small part of this. We can’t attempt to stop every development at every location. In our view, if undertaken as per the proposal, this is not a marina that will have a major impact on wildlife values in the area.
This is the first time I have looked at this site.
Maybe you could help me please. We are a small group trying to save the very last roosting beach for wading birds in the Matakana Estuary, near Warkworth.The beach is on the Sandspit side of the estuary. The local yacht club has applied to place a 10acre marina for large motorboats alongside this small roosting beach with its attached saltmarsh and mangrove area. The marina will destroy the beach during construction and after. The very productive cockle beds will be severely affected with huge barges dragging away the sand dug out to make the marina.These cockle beds are more productive than Whangateau, but have smaller sized cockles.Not good for human collectors , but great for our birds.The marina will cover and control the stream where the Banded Rails breed, along with the White Faced Herons, and will cover and control one of the 2 major river channels. No more will Orca or Dolphins feel safe to feed in our estuary, since they would need to go through the marina to get to any feeding at low tide.When the tide is in the water over the cockle beds remains relatively shallow.We do not understand why local DOC or local Forest and Bird will not take any interest or give us support to stop this project although they know about NZ Dotterels trying to nest in the area in the past.In fact DOC came to catch and band them after I notified them of their existence in 1993.At that time the community did not have a predator control programme in the area, but we have had one now for many years with the support of ARC. The bush birds have propspered amazingly. This has probably flowed on to the Banded Rail success in breeding.
If the marina project could be defeated, we could then tackle the problem of dogs and their owners,boats parked on the beach and vehicles driven along the beach.
I am spending about 10 hours per week, kayaking in the estuary to count birds,in particular, Godwits at present.One morning recently there were 210 Godwits feeding on the cockle beds close to the marina site.
Our birds we want to protect are Godwits, S.I.Oystercatchers, Variable Oystercatchers, Pied Stilts,Reef Heron, White Faced Heron, Banded Rails, Caspian Terns, White Fronted terns and NZ Dotterels.
I saw NZ Dotterels yesterday on the cockle banks.They had no leg bands, so are different from the ones seen in 92/93.
Can someone out there in cyberspace please pressure DOC to put some excellent effort into this marina defeat please?
At the hearing in January, the Chairperson, Diane Glenn from ARC adjourned the hearing until the end of April when she heard about our NZ Dotterels and Godwits. We SO need DOC’s and public support on this issue.Once this roosting beach has gone and the cockle beds badly damaged, if not destroyed, then it will be gone for ever just to cater for big, polluting rich people’s motorboats.
Don’t let this happen to an area described by ARC as “of international significance for roosting and nesting of a number of endemic and threatened NZ coastal bird species.”