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Final stage of mangrove removal to start in Whangamatā

Waikato Regional Council is starting the final stage of mangrove removal work, which it has resource consent for, in Whangamatā.

Contractors will start working in the Moanuanuanu estuary and beside the Hetherington Road walkway from Monday, 20 August.

Meanwhile, Whangamatā HarbourCare volunteers continue to provide support with seedling removal days.

“The monitoring results for the council’s work clearing mangroves last year showed there had been no adverse environmental impact,” said Coromandel constituency councillor Dal Minogue.

“That’s good news, and means staff have been able to prepare for the completion of the final stage of work.”

The area to be cleared has been revised to offset potential impacts from some recent unauthorised clearance. The unauthorised removal of mangroves near the consented area triggered an ecological review of the scope of the council’s last stage, and it was deemed that extra clearance could impact on banded rail habitat.

As a result, the scale of the removal area in the Moanuanuanu estuary has been changed from 1.12 hectares to 0.68 hectares. The location has also moved slightly to the north.

Coromandel Zone manager Dean Allen said banded rails were considered as part of the Environment Court decision to grant consent for the removal of mangroves because they were found only in small numbers. Banded rail has disappeared from most of inland New Zealand and the bird is nationally at-risk.

"It;s disappointing for us, our partners and other stakeholders that we've had to revise our final stage due to the unconsented clearance", Mr Allen said.

"We follow best practice and we’re proud that monitoring results have shown there’s been no decline in overall harbour health as a result of our work. We're pleased it hasn't impacted on the presence of banded rail, or caused algal blooms or odour issues."

Moving forward, the council will be undertaking a review of its Waikato Regional Coastal Plan, which includes looking at policy around how mangroves will be managed into the future.

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