Approximately 200 members work on wetland, coastal and forest projects in the region.
The Eastern Bay of Plenty Branch includes Whakatane, Kawerau and Opotiki Districts. It has a long coastline but also important inland areas such as Te Urewera and Whirinaki. The climate, beaches and natural environment attract tourists and holiday makers and are important to locals for recreation. This can result in conflict with nature, especially on beaches where the threatened NZ dotterel and other shorebirds live.
Whakatane and Kawerau have some very special landscape features – Kohi Point, MtPutauaki(Edgecumbe)and views of Mt Tarawera.
The Branch runs a native plant nursery and holds two sales each year in autumn and spring, which helps fund branch activities. The Branch undertakes many activities to restore the environment to its natural state. Shorebird and coastal protection have always been important in this branch. Every year volunteers undertake pest control and monitoring to protect the threatened NZ dotterel and other shorebirds and make sure they can safely breed and increase their populations.
There are many conservation issues for our branch. Protecting shorebird nesting sites requires advocacy to the councils to enforce bylaws and education and include provisions in regional and district plans.
A lot of work is done under the RMA making submissions on resource consents to ensure the best possible conditions to avoid, remedy or mitigate adverse effects on the environment.
Sustainable management and conditions to avoid, remedy or mitigate adverse effects on the environment under the RMA is an important aspect of the branch’s work e.g. the renewal of Trustpower’s Matahina dam consent where extensive fish passage conditions have been imposed.
The branch puts in a lot of effort to secure sound district and regional plan provisions, especially those affecting indigenous biodiversity and landscapes and environmental sustainability. The current focus is the Whakatane District Plan and the controversial intention to build a marine precinct at the head of the Orini Stream which would obliterate significant saltmarsh, and the Proposed Bay of Plenty Regional Coastal Environment Plan.
The Rangitaiki River is also a significant focus as catchment planning is undertaken. The LAWA website www.lawa.org.nz is showing increased nitrogen and turbidity at Murupara, likely attributable to land use intensification in the upper catchment, and turbidity and bacteria levels at Te Teko being in the bottom 50% of equivalent sites, and the bottom 25% for nitrogen and phosphorus.
Several years ago Branch action stopped the building of an eight storey building at Whakatane Heads which would have seriously impacted on the outstanding landscapes of Kohi Point and the Piripai Spit. The Court awarded the branch significant costs which the developer, Robert Power, has yet to pay.
Our branch always appreciates the help of volunteers and encourages people to take part in our activities.
The old adage ‘many hands make light work’ is very true in conservation. The more people to help, the more we can achieve.The Branch welcomes anyone with ideas for activities and excursions.
Become a shorebird volunteer – help with pest control and bird monitoring on our beaches from September to around February.
Contact Linda 07 322 8245
Whakatane Harbour Care – bait stations, wetland restoration, community activities. Contact Gaye 07 312 3844
Lake Tamerunui – pest control, restoration planting and releasing. Contact Peter 07 304 9404 Branch activities including Nursery, Media and Submissions contact Mark 07 322 8245
Or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Whakatane Bird Rescue
If you need help with injured birds contact 027 209 0567