Helpers wanted for wetland planting

Volunteers pictured planting natives near the Waiotaka Stream north of Turangi two years ago as part of an ongoing wetland rejuvenation project led by Project Tongariro.
Volunteers pictured planting natives near the Waiotaka Stream north of Turangi two years ago as part of an ongoing wetland rejuvenation project led by Project Tongariro.

Volunteers are being sought to help with two wetland planting days on Friday, March 31 and Saturday, April 1 at three sites along the Waiotaka River between Turangi and Stump Bay.

The wetland planting programme is a joint initiative between Project Tongariro, the Department of Conservation and Department of Corrections.

In the last seven years invasive willow trees have been removed from the area and replaced with native species including flax, manuka, kanuka, cabbage trees, kowhai and totara.

Project Tongariro spokeswoman Shirley Potter says more natives are being planted on Friday and Saturday in two areas that were planted last year and volunteer helpers would be greatly appreciated.

She says thousands of natives that were planted in recent years with volunteer help in areas of the Te Matapuna wetlands that were formerly overrun with willows are thriving in wet, fertile areas.

She says Project Tongariro's eventual aim is to eradicate all the willows - which are invasive and clog the waterways - and restore the wetlands to their former glory.

Funding from the Department of Conservation and the Waikato Catchment Ecological Enhancement Trust is being used for willow removal.

Tongariro Prison is propagating native plant species for the wetland restoration programme.

Inmates have also assisted with ground preparation and ongoing weed maintenance of the planted areas.

The planting days on March 31 and April 1 are going ahead rain or shine. Volunteers are being asked to meet at the Stump Bay car park in Frethey Drive at 9am on both days.

Helpers should bring sturdy shoes, gloves, drinking water and a favourite shovel or grubber.

Project Tongariro will also have some tools. A barbecue lunch on both days is being sponsored by Turangi Marine.

- Anyone who can help or people needing transport should call Shirley on 386 7581 or email shirley@tongariro.org.nz or just meet at Stump Bay.

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