In 2004 local residents had found their local area had become quieter. Most native birds had vanished from the land and sightings had become rare. Local citizens decided to do something about it, forming the environmentally aware and active community group The Uretara Estuary Managers.
Many problems were identified in the Uretara catchment, and step by step the volunteers began work on varying environmental projects.
Uretara Estuary Managers aim to manage and improve the estuary downstream from Katikati, and its catchment by:
- Encouraging native birdlife along the Yeoman and Uretara Walkways and further round the estuary shore line by baiting for rodents during the nesting season.
- Working with Western Bay of Plenty District Council Parks and Reserves staff controlling weeds, and planting and maintaining native plants along the estuary walkways.
- Working with landowners, with funding support from our local authorities and the Ministry of the Environment, to restore and plant stream banks in the upper catchment in order to reduce siltation in the Uretara Estuary and Tauranga Harbour.
- Eco-sourcing seeds and cuttings of suitable native plants for our planting projects, and growing them in our nursery in the grounds of Lexham Park.
- Working with the Bay of Plenty Regional Council to control mangrove spread across the estuary and into the salt marsh area at the mouth of the Uretara Stream.
- Supporting college and polytechnic students undertaking environmental programmes related to our estuary and catchment.
- Spreading the word about the need to protect and restore our streams and estuaries.
Issues such as intensive land use, farming practices, and urban development have a major impact on waterways in terms of bank erosion, sedimentation, and pollution. For these reasons volunteers from the group are dedicated to improving stream and river water quality through riparian fencing, stream bank planting and wetland protection, as well as carrying out surveys to monitor biodiversity within the waterways.
The group agrees that the rewards of working with others to improve the environment far outweigh the time and effort involved. They welcome new volunteers, so if you would like to get involved please contact Sue Morris on 07 549 2147 or Rosalie Smith on 07 549 2422.
For more information please follow this link –www.wildaboutnz.co.nz/projects/uretara