We had volunteers from the local community, and students from EcoQuest, Te Kauwhata College, and Te Wharekura o Manurewa.
The last weekend of June 2017 was an important date for CIBR. It was the first stage of planting 40,000 native trees in the margins of Lake Waikare. This first stage was to plant 10,000 trees with the rest to be planted later this year.
The project will evaluate the potential of mānuka-dominated ecosystems to increase water quality. In the last 10 years, the CIBR team has demonstrated the potential of the mānuka (Leptospermun scoparium) root systems to reduce pathogens and nitrate leaching from biowaste-amended soils in laboratory, greenhouse and lysimeter experiments.
This 5 year project was funded by Waikato River Authority and the CIBR team expects to demonstrate those properties in real-world, field conditions. We will also be looking at mānuka‘s potential to reduce nutrients, sediments and pathogens from entering waterways on or near dairy farms. The Ministry for Environment has recently identified these factors as the main causes of pollution in New Zealand waterways.
For this project CIBR is collaborating closely with Waikato Regional Council, Waikato District Council, Nga Muka Ltd, Te Riu o Waikato Ltd, Matahuru Marae/Nikau Estate Trust, and Ecoquest. We will set up two experimental plots of a total surface of 4 hectares with 40,000 plants of 22 different species, 50% of which will be mānuka. We will measure run-off from the farms, and soil indicators to compare the difference between run off from sections planted with only mānuka (monoculture), or mixed planting that is mānuka-dominated, to sections with no-planting. We will be looking for improvement in the quality of water from farmland reaching the lake coming through the sections where the run off has passed through the planted areas.
The first planting event started on Saturday 24th June 2017, with 24 attendees at the Hui in Matahuru Marae , where the project team (CIBR, WRC, WDC, Nga Muka, Te Riu o Waikato, Matahuru Marae/Nikau Estate Trust, and Ecoquest) met with other members of the community to talk about what was hoped to be achieved from the various restoration projects taking place around the lake. All the community members older than 60 years were invited to talk about their perception of the degradation of the lake. These discussions revealed that a number of events happened over a period of time that eventually led to today’s sick lake. Farmers first removed all the willows trees from the lake edges, at that time it was thought to be a good idea. In 1963 a damn was constructed, this stopped free flow to the river and resulted in a drop in the level of the lake water, at the time it was thought to be a good idea. Over the years farming activities and deforestation around the lake have increased. All of these factors have contributed to the degradation of the lake.
The plantation was inaugurated with a Karakia by Glen Tupuhi and Auntie Elsie Davis, who planted the first plant (a kauri – Agathis australis) of the 40,000 that will be planted before the end of the year. The first planting stage consisted of more than 30-40 people from local communities, CIBR and ESR members (Brett Robinson, Vikki Ambrose, Izzy Alderton, Maria J Gutierrez, Jacqui Horswell, Jaime Ataria, Jymal Morgan, Libby Harrison and Robyn Simcock), Nga Muka, Matahuru Marae, Te Riu o Waikato, and WRC, Ecoquest members and students (about 25 in total) and the students from the Te Wharekura o Manurewa and Te Kauwhata College.
We appreciate and acknowledge the help of all the volunteers and collaborators in this exciting project and let you know when the next planting date has been confirmed for October 2017.
Keep up to date with the CIBR's exciting work by taking a look at our regular newsletters.