Following on from World Wetlands Day on February 2, Kaipara landowners are being urged to join other Northlanders in preserving environmentally important wetlands on their properties.
Often underappreciated, wetlands play a crucial role in filtering, absorbing and storing rainwater for dry periods.
Northland Regional Council chairman, Bill Shepherd, says healthy wetlands are effectively the environment’s kidneys, filtering rain and storing it, a valuable attribute particularly during the period currently impacting the region.
“Climate change means extreme weather events like droughts, storms and floods are on the increase, which will make our wetlands even more important to us in the future. Wetlands also help fight climate change because they store carbon better than any other habitat on the planet.”
The council biodiversity manager, Lisa Forester, says historically more than a fifth of the region was once covered in wetlands, and now less than five and a half per cent remains.
During 2018 more than 20 wetlands had received funding for fencing and protection and the council aims to target 25 wetlands annually for assessment of any fencing needs and associated follow-up.
Conditions are currently monitored at 27 wetlands already fenced, and this summer is the third cycle.
“Pleasingly, nearly all the degraded wetlands we’re monitoring have improved their score, while those, which were already in good condition, have remained stable or improved.”
She says wetland owners who have helped with fencing, pest and weed control and monitoring are thrilled with improving results.