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Whakatane Harbour Care Group hits its stride

Wednesday, 5 March 2014 2:42 p.m.

The Care Group working to improve and protect the Whakatane Harbour reached an exciting new milestone with the signing of the Biodiversity Management Plan recently.

The Whakatane Harbour Care Group is a dedicated collection of volunteers who work to protect and enhance the salt marshes and other natural habitats that are home to the 56 species of birds found in Whakatane Harbour. The Harbour (from the Landing Road Bridge to the Heads on both sides of the river) is recognised as containing ‘high value ecological sites’ under the Regional Coastal Environment Plan and Proposed Whakatane District Plan and is funded under the Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s Biodiversity Programme.

The Biodiversity Management Plan is signed with other partner organisations – Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Whakatane District Council, Te Runanga o Ngati Awa, the Department of Conservation and the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society. The Plan sets the work programme for the coming five years, formalises the relationships between these organisations and outlines priorities and responsibilities for the groups.

Gaye Payze from the Whakatane Harbour Care Group was pleased with the signing.

“Our group has been around for a number of years now and we have made some great progress improving the Harbour and restoring the natural ecosystem. This document marks a significant milestone for us and formalises and recognises the work we do and allows our different organisations to work together even more effectively,” Ms Payze said.

The Harbour Care Group is extending itself even further this year and is always looking for more volunteers to get involved.

“Working alongside Apanui Salt Marsh Care Group, we have focussed on the Salt Marshes where we have extensive predator and weed control works underway. By controlling weeds, we are allowing the natural regeneration of native plants and we are re-planting in some areas as well.

“It is great to see the difference our work has already made and to look forward to all the great things we can do next. We have a working bee each month, usually on the third Saturday, although our next working bee will be on 22 March. We’d love any willing volunteers to come along and get involved in keeping our local area beautiful,” Ms Payze said.

If you would like to know more, get in touch with the Whakatane Harbour Care contact person, Gaye Payze on (07) 312 3844 or wpc@farmside.co.nz.

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Whakatane Harbour lowres