Pekapeka Wetland Restoration
An amazing transformation is taking place at the Pekapeka wetland, south of Hastings, Motorists using State Highway 2 have been keeping an eye on the roadworks in the last month.
The initial phase is the road changes (pull over or turning bays) which will lead to a car park. Toilets and information panels overlooking the wetland will be added. Landscaping will use 16,500 plants, comprising both lowland forest species for the higher areas and wetlands species, around the fringe.
There will be three distinct viewing areas at Pekapeka, says Council’s operations environmental manager, Stephen Cave (pictured right), who manages council-owned wetlands and country parks.
“The main focus is education with specific wetlands information, the cultural background of Pekapeka and its importance to Maori, particularly with the nearby pa site, and the history of the railway line that runs through the middle of it.”
The Council will continue with control of invasive weeds and the crack and pussy willow trees, which remain under an annual spray programme. It has been 10 years since the first spray and while many of the trunks still jut out of the water, about 70% of the original trees have already fallen.
“We get a lot of comments about the dead sticks from the initial knock down. We recently chainsawed some of the larger trunks and will look to do more in the future as the seasons permit, for aesthetic reasons more than any difference it will make to the ecology of the wetland, as they do eventually sink and become part of the ongoing cycle of the wetland.”
Native raupo has always been prolific but it is being controlled and managed will, Steve says.
“It is very effective is absorbing nutrients out of the water – a basic environmental function of wetlands – so it’s particularly useful here at the head of the extensive Poukawa catchment.”
The Pekapeka Wetland project is being funded thanks to $317,000 from the Lottery Grants Board, $50,000 from the Community Foundation and $187,000 from the Regional Council (total cost $580,000). The project is expected to be finished in early 2011.