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Saltmarsh restoration project making great advances

March 27th, 2015
[by Mike Tooker]

Visitor interest is growing in the combined walkway and cycle trail around the Motueka Inlet reserve. The area has become a popular walking and biking area.

Keep Motueka Beautiful (KMB) began the project to restore the old sawdust dump area off Old Wharf Road in 2005. The area was heavily infested with gorse, blackberry and high seeding trees which required machinery to clear.

Early work was based around creating a series of plots which the public was encouraged to adopt (the 'Adopt a Plot' project).

The remaining, wetter area was designated the "Saltmarsh Project". This includes the most significant raupo (bulrush) remnant in the Moutere Estuary, and a large tidal area.

Major planting began in April 2010, totalling to date, 6000 plants over 600 hours of voluntary work. Generous local contractors also made a significant contribution, as did plant nurseries, including DOC.

The fertility of the non-tidal zone is very variable, with deep unrotted sawdust, boulder mounds from an ancient river-bed, local salt-water intrusion through culverts and drains, a hard grey clay pan, and occasionally some good soil.

The ongoing strategy is to keep attacking weeds and allowing the re-emergence of dominant rushes, grasses and bracken. Through 2015/6 a further 700 plants will be planted in the bare areas, from a range of ecologically sourced plants which would have been there originally.

Ground-nesting birds are returning, including some uncommon ones. The recently installed trap- line has caught its first stoat and two rats.

Much of the area is overlooked by a two metre high bund from which users of the reserve can look down on the plantings. Plantings are in clumps so that the species are easily differentiated, creating an interesting visual effect.

Keep Motueka Beautiful is always keen to hear from volunteers who wish to help with any of its interesting environmental projects, including the saltmarch renewal. Contact them by phoning David at 528 9883.


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