Archive for March, 2008

A wetland in St Lukes

March 20th, 2008

New Zealand has lost approximately 95% of its wetlands to agriculture and urban expansion. Unfortunately, it’s taken us a while to realize the importance of these systems in terms of the biological and economic services they provide, e.g., flood attentuation, water filtration and purification, etc. It sobering to think that nearly all of St. Lukes and Sandringham was once a large wetland – in fact, Sandringham used to be known as Cabbage Tree Swamp. STEPS would like to recreate some of the past in our own backyard. We’re proposing to construct a small wetland in an area that is periodically fed by clean spring water. Our plan is to remove the weeds and plant the area with wetland species such as flax, sedges and raupo. As well as dramatically enhancing the visual amenity of the Kerr-Taylor Reserve, a wetland would provide excellent habitat and food resources for watefowl and terrestrial birds such as tui and silvereye. The designated area already has an impressive stand of young kahikatea and cabbage tree, and seeing their submerged trunks gives us an idea of what an intact swamp forest should look like (see Photos). The project is very much in the formative stages. For a start, we need to gain permission from Mt Albert Grammar, since the proposed wetland is on school land. A feasibility study also needs to be carried out. If we get the green light, then we’ll need to get funding for things such as engineering works and plants. We envisage the project being a partnership between STEPS, Mt Albert Grammar and the local community. We’ll keep you posted on progress. If you have any thoughts, comments or opinions, feel free to post them on the blog.

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