Planting work to clean up the Manawatu¯ River
Recently a group of Massey University students passionate about improving the water health of the Manawatu¯ River, undertook a riparian planting day project.
The aim was to raise awareness at a community level that by working together, people can make a difference.
There are many factors respon- sible for the poor condition of the river, but its health can be improved in a variety of ways.
The plan of action was to carry out native planting in a riparian zone, which is the interface area between the land and a river or stream.
Riparian vegetation has a number of benefits to river health. It not only provides a habitat for wildlife and aids in preventing land erosion, but it organically filters out some of the nutrients before they get to hit the water and cause excessive biological growth.
This growth is what limits the oxygen needed for aquatic life to thrive.
While members of the Manawatu¯ River Leaders’ Forum signed an Accord to take action to improve the state of the river, more local engagement is called for. The students were keen to collaborate with members of the wider community as part of a positive approach to change.
Environment Network Manawatu¯ put the students in touch with the New Zealand Landcare Trust and a local farmer who needed help to plant along a section of the Stoney Creek catchment.
On the day with the help of willing community members, approximately 1500 plants were planted out.
The project was undertaken as part of Massey University Bachelor of Arts course ‘Tu¯ Tira Mai: Practising Engagement’, with a focus on civic engagement.
As well as contributing to a great cause it was a day for enjoying good weather and great hospitality, and for making friends.
The reality is, that when members of a community get involved in a project and work together, it is much easier to make a positive difference to the environment they choose to live in.
George Baker and Greer Ratana at September’s planting.