70,000 native trees to protect Waimea Inlet

  • Hon Shane Jones

The One Billion Trees Fund is committing more than $1 million to support the restoration of the Waimea Inlet in the Tasman district, Forestry Minister Shane Jones has announced.

Minister Jones, alongside Agriculture Minister and local MP Damien O’Connor, made the funding announcement today at a tree planting event in Richmond, outside Nelson.

The investment comes from the $240 million grants and partnership fund as part of the Government’s One Billion Trees programme.

“This is a significant opportunity that will see more than 70,000 native trees planted across the estuary over the next three years,” Shane Jones said.

“Native trees play an important part of the One Billion Trees strategy. The grants programme we launched late last year targets two thirds native trees because of the clear benefits to water quality, erosion control and biodiversity.

“There is a growing understanding of the significant ecological role this inlet plays, particularly for rare and threatened native plants and animals and important populations of coastal wetland birds and migratory wading birds.

“It is the largest semi-enclosed estuary in the South Island and its restoration is listed as a priority by the Department of Conservation.

“However, the Waimea Inlet is under threat because of excess silt flowing in from land clearance and pollution from sewage, industrial waste and agricultural runoff.

“This funding will help build on the impressive work already underway in Waimea Inlet with more than 200 volunteers involved in trapping and habitat restoration across the area.

“The restoration of the Waimea Inlet will not only benefit this particular site but will provide a link with other projects across the region and increase natural capital outcomes,” Shane Jones said.

Restoration project:

Waimea Inlet landowners, Te Uru Rākau, DOC, councils and stakeholders are all working together to restore Waimea Inlet.

To date, DOC has been working with the local community to coordinate several projects in the Waimea Inlet and build up a picture of any gaps which need to be filled.

Restoration benefits:

Restoration of the Waimea Inlet and surrounding areas will provide benefits for native biodiversity, such as:

  • the return of threatened native fish to streams and wetlands;
  • the creation of habitat for other native species, like banded rail;
  • redressing the excessive loss of some ecosystems in the landscape;
  • preventing their regional extinction, especially lowland ecosystems;
  • preventing more extinctions of our native plants and animals by providing them with adequate habitat;

enhancing the populations of those native species that have managed to persist.