The North-West Wildlink project began as a pilot project in 2006 to establish wildlife corridors across Auckland.
It’s a collaborative effort between Forest & Bird and the Auckland Council that’s already seeing success with greener, cleaner communities.
Since 2006, there’s been extensive work creating this green corridor that links habitats and communities from the Waitakere Ranges in the west to the Hauraki Gulf Islands in the east.
The Wildlink project aims to connect and enhance natural areas, including open spaces, stream banks, esplanades, reserves and backyards. This will ultimately provide safe routes and refuges for native plants and animals.
What we've done so far
Raroa Reserve, Whangaparaoa
This 1ha reserve in the Stanmore Bay catchment is home to the threatened ornate skink. And the residential area surrounding the reserve is ideal for providing additional habitats.
Forest & Bird’s Hibiscus Coast branch has led the community restoration project, which includes planting 10,000 native plants and additional exotics for reptile and bird food, weed control and assisting natural regeneration of native trees. This is now a stepping stone habitat for wildlife moving along Whangaparaoa Peninsula.
Lucas Creek Bush / Paremoremo ecological corridor restoration
This project was initiated in 2008 to control introduced pests in an area of native forest and shrubland. It was set up by Forest & Bird and Sustainable Paremoremo, and works directly with landowners to help control rats and stoats on private properties.
By 2011, 111 landowners had signed up and 65 properties had used bait stations or stoat traps. This puts more than 160ha of significant wildlife habitat under intensive control.
As a result, residents have seen an increase to wild birdlife in the area, including tui, pukeko and fantails. One homeowner said her property “was eerily quiet before intensive pest control began and now it’s full of native birds, including kereru”.
There’s been a concerted effort to bring wildlife back to this public coastal reserve in Northcote. Forest & Bird members, local businesses and residents have been trapping rats and stoats, which enables the recovery of bush birds, the local banded rail and lizard populations.
Stoats have all but been eliminated in this area, but ongoing work is needed as rodent populations persist.
Project Twin Streams
By 2011, a 56km corridor of native trees and shrubs had been planted to stabilise the banks of Waitakere streams from erosion and filter toxins entering the water.
More than 34,000 volunteers had planted three-quarters of a million native trees and shrubs. Water clarity had improved, and it’s expected changes to nutrient and metal levels will improve as the native vegetation matures.
For more on the scientific study being done alongside this project, see here
Ark in the Park buffer zone
This zone covers 600ha of private land that surrounds the combined Forest & Bird Waitakere branch and Auckland Council restoration project, Ark in the Park. Landowners have been controlling weeds and predators since 2004, significantly increasing native wildlife in the area bordering the parkland.
Birds such as robins, hihi and a breeding pair of kokako have been spotted in this outlying area.
State Highways 16 and 18
The new motorways in the north-west of Auckland have provided unlikely habitats along the North-West Wildlink. They’ve been designed with extensive road-side plantings that link natural spaces and restored waterways.
These plantings create a continuous habitat for wildlife. They minimise forest edges, which helps create self-sustaining ecosystems of greater resilience.
People working for nature
There have already been an impressive number of people volunteering for the numerous planting, weeding, and pest control working bees. And the Wildlink has only grown as Forest & Bird joined forces with other environmental groups in the area.
The Wildlink is a real community effort as Forest & Bird and Auckland Council receive, and rely on, support from iwi, private landowners, schools and community groups.
The success so far clearly shows that early collaboration with other groups has been key to incorporating Wildlink objectives into large-scale, long-term development plans.
The story to come
The model is set and the corridor is growing, but work is far from complete. More trees need to be planted, more pests eradicated and more corridors are needed to join the green dots on the map.
As this continues, water quality will improve and more native wildlife will return to the area. The community too, will benefit and be able to enjoy a cleaner, greener cityscape now and for future generations.
How you can help
There is a range of North-West Wildlink activities you can take part in, such as pest control, planting, or weeding. If you would like to be involved in a North-West Wildlink project, contact Nick Beveridge at our regional office at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact your nearest Forest & Bird branch in the area.
For more information on the Northwest Wildlink see here