Katikati Advertiser

Plant­ings to help re­cov­ery of sand dunes

- Animals · Disasters · Ecology · Volunteering · Wildlife · Society · Bay of Plenty RU

Al­most 70,000 na­tive plants were dug into Bay of Plenty sand dunes this win­ter – by lo­cal vol­un­teers. The plant­ings, part of Coast Care Bay of Plenty, will help re­gen­er­ate sand dunes and en­sure they are not lost to ero­sion, weather or care­less be­hav­iour across beaches.

“We­couldn't have done it with­out the help of our vol­un­teers so ahuge thank you to them,” Coast Care Bay of Plenty Re­gional Co­or­di­na­tor Paul Green­shields said.

“Our coastal sand dunes are one of the most de­graded nat­u­ral ecosys­tems in­NewZealand yet they are an in­te­gral part of our beaches so we­have to ac­tively work to pro­tect and re­gen­er­ate them.

“We­knowthat na­tive sand dune plants play a vi­tal role in main­tain­ing the dunes, by bind­ing light blow­ing sand onto the beach, and mak­ing sand dunes morestable. With­out these plants, the sand blow­s­away and dunes dis­ap­pear – leav­ing the land vul­ner­a­ble to weather and­wave surges.”

Green­shields said over 4300 vol­un­teers and an­other 2700 school stu­dents spent 7895 hours to get the plants into the ground be­tween June and Septem­ber.

In the Bay of Plenty re­gion, there is just3000 hectares of coastal sand dune plants left com­pared to 12,000 hectares pre­hu­manset­tle­ment.

The Coast Care Bay of Plenty pro­gramme started 25 years ago and since then 250,000 vol­un­teers have do­nated 300,000 hours to plant 1.5mil­lion plants along the coast.

“This work is es­sen­tial ifwe­want beaches to en­joy in the fu­ture. In the mid90s the coast­linewasero­ded, the dunes where not per­form­ing as they should and the com­mu­nity and it's in­fra­struc­ture was un­der threat with ev­ery large storm that would hit,”

Green­shields said.

The na­tive sand dune plants dug back into sand dunes in­cluded pin­gao, spini­flex and po­hue­hue. They also pro­vide habi­tat for­some­ofNew Zealand na­tive and en­demic coastal flora and fauna.

“Vol­un­teers have helped to build a re­silient com­mu­nity by in­creas­ing the per­for­mance of the dune sys­tem and cre­at­ing a nat­u­ral buf­fer to sea level rise and the ef­fect of cli­mate change,” he said.

 ?? Photo / Bay of Plenty Re­gional Coun­cil ?? Vol­un­teers help plant na­tive sand dune plants at Waihi Beach ear­lier this year.
Photo / Bay of Plenty Re­gional Coun­cil Vol­un­teers help plant na­tive sand dune plants at Waihi Beach ear­lier this year.

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