The boardwalk will allow access to the springs from the main
wetland when completed.
Wetlands day comes more than once a year for Duntroon
Community Wetlands volunteers.
The Wetlands group, which comes under the umbrella of the
Duntroon and District Development Association, has a diverse
membership drawn from all corners of the North Otago township
and its rural hinterland.
Association chairman and wetlands group spokesman Owen King
said while there had been no official marking of World
Wetlands day, the Duntroon Wetlands was considered something
of a local treasure.
The wetlands lie between the township and the Waitaki River.
It had long been recognised as worthy of preservation and
over the years many had given generously of their advice,
time and money to make it what it was today, he said.
A core group of volunteers held regular working bees to
maintain the area. But the wider support group included
individuals, groups and larger organisations who were part of
the Duntroon and lower Waitaki community, he said.
Environment Canterbury and Meridian Energy had contributed
significantly, both with funding and advice.
As a fisherman, a fishing guide, and someone who worked as a
New Zealand Fish and Game ranger, safeguarding the wetlands
was also something, personally, he was ''really passionate''
about, Mr King said.
World Wetlands Day was celebrated on February 2 and this
year's theme was Wetlands and Agriculture: Partners for
The Duntroon wetlands restoration project emerged from
Meridian Energy's Project Aqua hydro-electricity scheme and
its proposal for a Duntroon Lake. The cancellation of the
scheme saw the focus pulled back to the wetlands site and its
The wetlands are fed by springs and the water flows to the
Over the years the site has suffered from extremes - from
flooding to drought. However, water rights have been
clarified in recent years and monitoring and managing water
through the wetlands is ongoing.
Access to the area was granted by Meridian Energy Ltd and
dairy farmers Geoff and Jan Keeling, who had continued to
play a hands-on role in development, Mr King said. Most
recently, Meridian Energy funded the construction of a
boardwalk, which is nearing completion.
Fish and Game New Zealand marked World Wetlands Day at
various wetlands throughout the country. Communications
adviser Grant Dyson said Fish and Game was keen to join with
more farmers to help create and preserve wetlands.
Despite some negative perceptions, the reality was the
organisation was working well and ''very happily'' with many
farmers and other landowners on such projects, he said.
Wetlands were no longer automatically reclaimed for farming.
Their ''true worth'' to agriculture had been recognised and
the wider benefits for the environment and wildlife
acknowledged, he said.
''Wetlands play an essential role in providing valuable
ecosystem services such as water purification of farm runoff,
recycling nutrients, protecting land from flood damage and
recharging groundwater aquifers, as well as offering
recreation opportunities and supporting a rich diversity of
Mr Dyson said Fish and Game had a range of free freshwater
advisory services and there was much it could do to help
people enhance wetlands or develop new ones.