Mangrove seedling removal consent granted
Wednesday, 9 October 2013 4:30 p.m.
A resource consent allowing mechanical control of mangrove seedlings in Tauranga Harbour has been granted to the Bay of Plenty Regional Council (BOPRC).
BOPRC Western Land Management Manager Robyn Skelton says that mechanical seedling removal will make it much easier to maintain open water areas in the harbour.
“Mangroves are a protected native plant but they’ve been rapidly filling in open areas of the harbour. By removing seedlings before they get established we can prevent that spread into specific sites that have high recreational value. This is delivering on what our communities have asked for – on-going access to enjoy their local estuaries,” said Miss Skelton.
“Council’s focus is on reducing the sedimentation that’s creating mangrove habitat in the first place. Supporting the care groups with mangrove control is just a small part of our wider catchment management programme but it’s been a real catalyst for community action to care for our native species and habitats,” Miss Skelton said.
For the last nine years, volunteers have been removing mangrove seedlings by hand in 600 hectares (ha) of the 21,800 ha Tauranga Harbour. Miss Skelton says that the BOPRC applied for consent to continue this work with machinery, as part of its Ten Year Plan commitments to support community efforts in maintaining and undertaking mangrove control.
Waikareao Estuary Care Group Chairman, Ross Steele says the mechanical removal of seedlings is hugely important for his community.
“It’s back-breaking work that needs to be done every year and there’s no assurance that we’ll always have volunteers available to do it,” he said.
“People are out netting for flounder and boating in the open water areas. They can walk across the estuary with their kids at low tide. If we let mangroves choke our waterways, people won’t be able to enjoy this lovely estuary.”
Chairman of the Matua Estuary Care group, Jerry Cowper says that mechanical seedling removal will mean more estuary restoration work gets done, “This will free our volunteers up so they can spend more time on activities like plant and animal pest control, planting and rubbish collection,” said Mr Cowper.
Removing mangroves outside the conditions of the resource consent is not allowed. Members of the public wanting to assist with this work or find out more about Estuary Care Groups in their area should contact the Estuary Care Coordinator on 0800 884 800.
Caption for photo: Jerry Cowper from Matua Estuary Care Group at a working bee to remove mangrove seedlings last March.
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