Raglan residents are being given the opportunity to be involved in helping to restore the damaged dunes overlooking the harbour entrance this weekend, by helping in the planting of 2,000 native dune plants. The native dune plants spinifex, pingao, and wiwi will help protect the area from coastal erosion and help to restore the natural character of the area.
The area overlooking the harbour entrance has seen a huge increase in use in the last few years as its popularity with kite-surfers continues to grow. This increased use, combined with the lack of formal access way, has led to the dune vegetation being damaged, making the area much more vulnerable to erosion.
Tangata Whenua and local community members concerned with the impact this increased use was having on the environment, got together with Environment Waikato and the District Council to see what could be done to prevent any further damage and to provide a better means for accessing the beach.
As a result of these discussions, Tangata Whenua and Whaingaroa Beachcare are working together to install a formal access way to the beach and to plant the area with native dune plants.
As Beachcare’s Sam Stephens explains, the native dune plants not only restore the natural look of the area, but also have important functions critical to the health of the coastal environment.
“The native dune plants and Fascines’ used in more traditional methods not only trap wind blown sand building dune height, but the spinnifex and pingao also grow towards the sea allowing the dunes to recover following erosion – something the current cover of exotic weeds and grasses can not replicate. “
“While these plants are critical to the health of our coasts, they are also very fragile. Only 10% of our native dune vegetation remains today due to the impact of pedestrians, vehicles, development and pests. It is important to return these native plants where we can so the protective function of the dunes can be reinstated”.
To make the restoration of this site a success, kite-surfers are being asked to set-up their kites on the beach away from the fragile dune area and to access the beach via the new access way only.
Works to reshape and prepare the site for planting will be occurring from Wednesday 23 to Friday 25th of June. During this time the public are being asked to avoid this area and to access the beach at either the existing beach access way east of the toilet block or to continue to the end of Riria Kereopa Memorial Drive and use the access way in the car park there.
The planting day will be held at the toilet block car-park on Riria Kereopa Memorial Drive on Sunday 27 June starting at 11am and will take approximately 1-2 hours. If you would like to be involved please bring a hand trowel or spade, and appropriate footwear.
For any more information on the dune planting day, please contact Sam Stephens at Environment Waikato on 0800 800 401. If you have any macrocarpa trees or branches that you would like to donate towards more “traditional” methods of trapping sand that help prevent erosion in our area, please email tekopua@hotmail.co.nz.