Former wetlands being restored

Fonterra staff and members of the Pomahaka Water Care Group spent several hours planting native...
Fonterra staff and members of the Pomahaka Water Care Group spent several hours planting native species on a Waipahi farm to help restore 7ha of drained wetlands, last Friday.
About 7ha of drained wetlands on a Waipahi dairy farm is being restored to as near as possible to what it was 50 years ago.

Dairy farmer Gerard Vallely milks 600 cows with a milk solid target of 270,000kgMS on two farms, with a combined area of 230ha.

"The wetlands were drained in the 1950s by the catchment board, which preceded the regional council."

The catchment board scrapped the creek’s bottom, and reconfigured the banks so the water ran straighter and faster towards the sea.

"That was called development in those days."

After being granted a resource consent for the work, Mr Vallely and Clydevale’s Shane Bocock, who is managing the project, have been working to restore the area.

They planted 2000 native plants and trees last year, and last Friday hosted about 15 Fonterra Sustainability staff, in addition to Fonterra factory staff and Pomahaka Water Care Group members to plant a further 3000.

Funding for the plants came from the Otago Regional Council. PHOTOS: CRAIG SIMPSON
Funding for the plants came from the Otago Regional Council. PHOTOS: CRAIG SIMPSON

A similar number will be planted in August. The trees have been funded by the Otago Regional Council.

"We are planting carex and canopy trees, flaxes, toi toi, cabbage trees and some manuka."

They will use a digger to create a dam in the creek as well as berms to form a bed that follows the original course as close as possible and to reduce flow speed.

"It slowed down and now provides a habitat for ducks."

They are also improving the habitat for eels and galaxids.

The site was stock fenced three years ago.

Local schools are also going to be involved in the project.

In addition, further native plantings will be done as part of the One Billion Trees programme.

Once the site is established he intends to covenant the area to the QEII National Trust, but that will be in about 10 years.

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