On World Wetland Day this Sunday 2nd February, think about the many Hawke’s Bay people who have helped to enhance and create our own wetlands in the region.
Although this international day falls in the wrong season for planting activities, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council encourages people to get out and explore one of the region’s many wetlands this weekend.
The theme of this year’s World Wetland Day is Wetlands and Agriculture. Many Hawke’s Bay farmers have enhanced farm dams, ponds and swampy areas, and many have created wetlands to improve their property, provide habitats or for sport. With this activity comes much better awareness for the need to filter out excessive nutrients before they reach our main waterways.
Hawke’s Bay Regional Council has worked with many farmers in the region on wetland enhancement projects, advising on the fencing and planting of stream banks and wetland areas. Farmers are turning back the clock on early twentieth century thinking, where swamps and boggy areas were viewed as a hindrance to good farming, and using a broader ecological understanding to effectively manage the role wetlands play in creating a healthy, sustainable farm operation.
Many community and service groups, iwi, environmental organisations, schools, and individuals have also committed time and energy to help enhance wetlands at Pekapeka, Waitangi, Mahia and Whakaki.
Wetlands are valuable habitats for rare plants, fish, birds and insects. Migrating birds in particular need wetlands like Ahuriri as stopping off places on their long voyages around the globe.
Pekapeka Regional Park offers locals an easily accessible and informative wetland visit. The park is open daily, with a dedicated carpark area beside State Highway 2, just south of Pakipaki. Paths, boardwalks and lookout areas include information boards that explain the history of Pekapeka, the creatures living in it and the values that wetlands add to the environment.
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