Call for help with la­goon, wet­lands

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - FRONT PAGE - ASH­LEIGH MONK

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.’’

PHOTO: DEREK FLYNN/FAIR­FAX NZ

Rosanne An­der­son spends a lot of her own time work­ing on the wet­land restora­tion.

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