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Ohiwa Harbour shows ecological progress

Wednesday, 5 June 2013 11:00 a.m.

Ohiwa Harbour has made considerable ecological progress under Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s Strategy, a meeting of the Ohiwa Harbour Implementation Forum heard last week.

A State of the Ohiwa Harbour Catchment report says complete fencing of the harbour margin has been achieved, and 80 percent of major streams and rivers have no stock access now. A significant area – about 12 percent – of the catchment has had forestry harvested since 2008 and a small proportion was converted back to pasture, but most land has been replanted.

Chairman Te Kei Merito, from Ngati Awa, said water quality monitoring of the Nukuhou River had shown a decrease in suspended solids, nitrogen concentrations and faecal indicator bacteria.

“This is an excellent result, and shows that the work the farmers are implementing is seeing results. Temperature is the only measure showing an increase, and this will remain until replanted native plants and shrub willow provide the expected shading,” he said. 

Numerous threatened flora and fauna, including marsh birds, bats, kiwi, fern birds, weka and oyster catcher were now more abundant, and introduced pest plants and animals were controlled.

The Forum heard harbour water quality is monitored at two sites, and is rated good compared to other eastern Bay estuaries. Swimming water remains one of the best in the Bay of Plenty, however wastewater measures are increasing on the eastern side of the harbour.

While streams feeding into the harbour have relatively diverse native freshwater fish populations, about 40 percent have barriers to fish migration which need to be removed to improve habitat.

An area of 11.7 hectares has been cleared of mangrove seedlings over the past two years, led by Te Upokorehe hapu and the community, and mapping is being done to see if the rate of spread has been stopped. Continued improvements to land use options and land management practices will improve ecology.

Signage around the harbour has been reviewed with the results displaying a vast range of signs. The Strategy partners have agreed to collaborate to ensure signage is effective and fewer signs are required.

Mr Merito said objectives for the coming year were to continue implementing the Strategy and complete a review of the actions before the next hui in December.

“The monitoring programme will remain and be improved as it is important to maintain the gains being made,” he said.

 

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Ohiwa Harbour