Council explains Waikanae River planting strategy
A strategy to plant locally native species along the Waikanae river corridor is underpinned by long-standing agreements between Council, the Friends of the Waikanae River group and the Greater Wellington Regional Council, says Leisure and Open Space Asset Manager Lex Bartlett.
Mr Bartlett was commenting on recent criticism of council for removing a small number of renga renga lilies from the Waikanae River corridor.
Mr Bartlett says a joint letter from both Councils was sent to the Friends group in April, drawing their attention to the non local native plants creeping into the area. A recent meeting of the group agreed with the action undertaken by Council.
“The plants were removed by Council staff helping Friends of the Waikanae River during a scheduled working bee. They have been transplanted into the Marine Gardens and will be replaced with locally native plants in accordance with the Waikanae River Environmental Strategy, agreed to after wide consultation in 1999.
“The use of local native plants for restoration of the river corridor is not a new idea. Fourteen years ago all parties agreed on the strategy because it was considered best practice. It is also policy for the Department of Conservation and the Ministry for the Environment, the QE II National Trust and the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society,” he said.
Mr Bartlett says Council has been working with environmental groups providing advice on sourcing local native plants for the last 11 years. For the past four it has employed specialised staff to collect seed from wild populations to increase the supply.
“The groups have welcomed the advice, with a majority now using local native plants. Six groups were even growing eco-sourced plants in their own nurseries.”
Mr Bartlett says native vegetation varies greatly around New Zealand due to differences in climate, soil and topography. Eco-sourcing plants helped preserve local character, variations and genetic diversity within species, as well as ensuring resilience.
“Restoring local native plants assists natural regeneration and lays as far as possible foundations for areas to return to their former state.”
The community can be assured that we will not be removing mature native plants from the river corridor - only a handful of recently planted specimens that should never have been included in plantings over the last few years.