It is always an exciting time at Waikato RiverCare when new projects get off the ground, and 2018 sees work underway on not one but four new sites! This equates to almost 7km of additional riparian planting in the Waikato River catchment covering 6.87ha, plus a further 4.2ha surrounding an ephemeral wetland.
Last week Waikato RiverCare marked the start of the Gateway Project, located just north of Meremere on the Waikato Expressway, State Highway 1, with the installation of our sign and site preparation works. Look out for changes to our website making it easier to find out more about RiverCare projects when you spot a sign too.
Up she goes: the sign marking the Gateway project site is installed
Operations Manager Kevin Hutchinson is very excited about the Gateway Project, citing its proximity to previous RiverCare project sites, the opportunity to have a strong impact on invasive weed species, and the benefits for wildlife following planting in 2019:
“We are including significant numbers of native berry producing trees in this project to encourage birdlife back into the area, with the added benefit of spreading native plant seed to adjoining properties. Riparian planting should also enhance roosting sites in the sandbars over summer by providing nesting materials, shade, food, and reducing the impact of noise and runoff from the expressway.”
Mr Hutchinson stressed that the project could not happen without the generous support of Watercare, who are providing $46k towards project costs. Waikato Regional Council have also made a significant contribution to the project. The Operations Manager remains hopeful that additional funding will be secured for the site:
“There is the potential to increase the impact of this project by doubling its scope and linking all the way north to the confluence of the Waikato and Whangamarino Rivers. I have a plan ready to implement as soon as we have the funding for it and would love to hear any offers or suggestions in this regard!”
Other projects with site-preparation works underway include:
Mangatea Stream – generously funded by the Waikato River Authority with support from Waikato Regional Council and in partnership with the landowner. This is a high quality waterway with high indigenous and wildlife values.
Hakarimata G – also funded by the Waikato River Authority with support from Waikato Regional and Waikato District Councils. Work has so far focused on securing the access way to the project with tree and woody weed control due to start shortly.
Koheroa Road Black Farm – this project, which includes the protection of a 100 year old lowland forest remnant and the restoration of an ephemeral open water wetland, is made possible by Waikato Catchment Ecological Enhancement Trust (WCEET) and the motivation of the committed landowner. Site preparation and comprehensive weed control will get underway shortly with planting scheduled for September this year.
With special thanks to: