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Volunteer plantings care for west coast beaches

Enthusiastic volunteers spent a few hours planting nearly 3000 native plants at Kiritehere beach earlier this month to reduce the risk of coastal erosion and to support local biodiversity.

The Tahi Hohaia Hikoia Whanau and Waikato Regional Council supported this event which was well attended by over 30 people.  

There are four more planting bees on the west coast for people of all ages to get involved in over the next six weeks. They are:

  • Ruapuke South on 19 July from 1pm
  • Kiritehere on 5 August from 10am
  • Ruapuke North on 6 August from 10am
  • Marokopa on 27 August, meet at 10am at 4 Marokopa Road.

“Dunes play an important role in protecting beaches from coastal erosion and sand inundation caused by a combination of massive storms and high tides,” said Waikato Regional Council’s Site Restoration Advisor, Moniqua Nelson-Tunley.

“Native dune plants trap wind-blown sand, building a natural buffer in the coastal margin and allowing the dunes to self-repair following big storm events.”

Dunes also have important biodiversity benefits, providing a home for endangered insects, lizards and birds, which in turn help pollenate and fertilise the dune plants and spread native plant seeds across the landscape.

“But the dunes are fragile. More than 75 per cent of our region’s beaches have been modified or destroyed by removal, grazing or trampling of native plants. That’s why the work of Beachcare volunteers is so important,” she said.

Across the region volunteers spend up to 1500 hours planting over winter months, but also carry out a range of other work aimed at protecting coastlines, including:

  • building access ways, fences and boarded pathways so people can get to and from beaches more easily and without trampling dunes
  • controlling pest plants and animals
  • installing signs
  • speaking to other community groups and running educational seminars
  • monitoring beaches for changes or problems that may need their attention.

Every year, Waikato Regional Council funds more than 50,000 native plants for planting by volunteers involved in 20 Beachcare groups across the region.

Beachcare groups are supported by the Waikato Regional Council, iwi and district councils. Visit www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/beachcare(external link) to find out more.

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