Katikati Advertiser

Plantings to help recovery of sand dunes

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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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