Call for help with lagoon, wetlands
Helping hands are being called upon to preserve the Grovetown Lagoon and Wetlands.
The project to restore wetlands was launched in 2002 and during that time hundreds of people have mucked in to help, but volunteers are now thin on the ground.
Project committee member Rosanne Anderson says having more volunteers will help preserve the area for everyone to enjoy.
‘‘Like all volunteer programmes, there is a lot to do and it works best with lots of people sharing a little bit of their time rather than few people sharing lots of their time.
‘‘Besides, the more people who are working in the area increases the number who can share the story.’’
The 3.8-kilometre loop track that is being established around the outside of the lagoon will be a great nature walk with opportunities for bird-watching and kayaking, she says.
Anderson started working on the wetlands two years ago after a visit to the lagoon with her granddaughter sparked her interest
‘‘It was a fascinating area with a wealth of history from Maori to Pakeha, earthquakes and floods, ancient trees removed and introduced weeds.
‘‘The project had already been working hard for 10 years or so, it was exciting to see the vision and the early results.’’
Marlborough Department of Conservation biodiversity ranger Jan Clayton-Greene says preserving the land is important because the Wairau Plains has only 3 per cent of its original wetlands left.
‘‘The native birds move from wetland to wetland and need a place to go to rest.
‘‘To have people behind the project and keeping it going is incredibly important.’’
Volunteer Chris Faulls, who lives in Blenheim, works on the wetlands in her spare time and says she is dedicated to the project because she is passionate about native bush and bird life.
‘‘Wetlands throughout the coastal area of New Zealand were more often than not drained, cleared then farmed and as we know now, the wildlife was destroyed.’’
The support they have is incredible, Faulls says, but more is needed to keep the wetlands thriving.
‘‘We have a wonderful person who is growing a lot of these with aid from the Grovetown School children.
‘‘Then a larger group once a month on Sunday where we chal- lenge ourselves for a few hours of busy spades and hands and laughter.
‘‘[But] more people would mean more growth, sooner rather than later.’’
Rosanne Anderson spends a lot of her own time working on the wetland restoration.