Order to stop conservation efforts frustrates crib owner

Ensconced among the shifting dunes on the Aramoana Spit is Amrita Nectar's crib, on Department of...
Ensconced among the shifting dunes on the Aramoana Spit is Amrita Nectar's crib, on Department of Conservation land. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
An Aramoana crib owner says he feels frustrated, confused and exhausted to be told by the Department of Conservation to halt his efforts to prevent erosion after nearly five months and $8000.

But Doc said it was unhappy with some of his work practices as well as the general state of the area around his crib, on Doc land on the Aramoana spit.

Amrita Nectar earlier this year began piling branches and planting grasses and shrubs around several areas where large dunes had worn away near his crib.

His efforts were an attempt to trap sand and create a consistent front to the dunes, behind which sand would pile to re-establish them, thereby preventing high seas eventually breaching the spit.

That approach drew the qualified support of Doc, which said the delicate salt marshes on the Otago Harbour side of the spit could be damaged if the ocean breached the narrow finger of land.

But Aramoana Conservation Charitable Trust members Bradley Curnow and Adrian Hall strongly opposed Mr Nectar's efforts, saying they would obstruct the movement of wildlife, including sea lions.

A Doc marine mammal specialist said earlier there was no evidence the branches would cause issues for sea lions.

Amrita Nectar.
Amrita Nectar outside his crib. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Following complaints from the trust, Doc staff members visited the area around his crib two weeks ago.

A subsequent email from acting Dunedin operations manager Mike Hopkins showed staff were unhappy with the state of the area around his crib and asked Mr Nectar to clean it up.

Mr Hopkins told Mr Nectar he believed he had completed the agreed work with regards to planting and building fences and said they needed to see how sand built up before taking any further action.

He also instructed Mr Nectar not to cut any vegetation or place it on the dunes, undertake any more planting, build further sand fences, construct brick pathways, use a digger to remove sand from around his crib, or install sandbags or cargo nets.

Mr Hopkins said last week the area appeared untidy and unkempt.

"What we didn't like is he had cut vegetation and laid out branches on the dunes, that was unauthorised, so we said no more cutting of vegetation, even if it is a weed species.''

Mr Nectar said he was disappointed in Doc's approach after it had earlier voiced support for his efforts.

"It's been an exhausting process, there's not even any recognition from Doc, any appreciation, it's just what you can't do.

"I've just put in four and a-half months and $8000 into trying to stabilise it, and I'm doing my best.

"I've had that place 25 years and to be under the gun from those two and Doc ... It's confusing and ridiculous.''

george.block@odt.co.nz

Comments

Absolutely hopeless doc, say one thing and do another.
Poison trees along river banks and leave them to die as happens along Otago's rivers.
Can't even defend this fellows home or the salt marsh behind it.

 

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