28 November 2016

Local creeks at Ongare Point are getting a makeover thanks to a newly formed volunteer group that are helping to care for Te Awanui (Tauranga Harbour).

The Ongare Point Waterway Restoration Group have recently planted 1300 native plants along 800 metres of stream banks that drain into the Tauranga Harbour. It’s the beginning of a project led by Ongare Point orchardists Phillipa Wright and Stephen Kenna, to improve water quality and wildlife habitat in their catchment.

“After orcharding in the area for many years we feel a responsibility to do everything we can to care for our local stream and reduce our impact on it,” said Ms Wright.

By combining our energy as a community we can really make a difference to water quality in our local streams and harbour. Establishing the Group makes it easier to co-ordinate that; we hope to be able to assist all Ongare Point landowners with waterway improvements within four years,” she said.

The Group plans to progressively plant the stream edge and fence where necessary to provide a native corridor along its banks.  Bay of Plenty Regional Council is providing funding support and practical advice to assist with the Group, and offers landowner subsidies of up to 50 percent for eligible work.

“Establishing even a small buffer of a few metres can help the stream a lot by intercepting contaminants coming off the land and more importantly shading the water.  Lowering the water temperature has a huge impact on fish and insect life and provides habitat to encourage them to stay.  What white-baiter wouldn’t like that?” Ms Wright said.

Anyone who’d like to assist or find out more about the Ongare Point Waterway Restoration Group can contact Phillipa Wright, phone 07 549 1375. Information about landowner assistance from Bay of Plenty Regional Council is available at www.boprc.govt.nz/landmanagement or by calling your local Land Management Officer on 0800 884 880.