24.10.2001: Planting the Riverbank


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LEADER, Wednesday, October 24, 2001

Planting the Riverbank

South School pupils spent last Wednesday morning out in the sunshine learning all about native trees and how to plant them.

The Waihi Walkways Group committee member Eric Lens and Habitat Enhancing Landscape Partnership (HELP) co-ordinator Andrew Jenks gave teacher Bill Burton's class a lesson on the importance of selecting plants for the right situation and how to go about putting them in the ground so that they stay there and, more importantly, survive.

"The planting is being done low on the riverbank so we need plants which are very flexible. This is so that they can bend with the water when it rises," Mr Jenks said.

He selected the bird attracting shrub kanono, the flexible koromiko, manuka and rewarewa as well as the unique-to-this-area narrow leafed mahoe.

"Make sure every plant is properly anchored in," instructed Mr Jenks to the eager pupils. "Push the soil down well to anchor it."

Spades were handed out as well as the shrubs and an eager class set to work.

Canopy closure is expected in five years, then this planting becomes more or less self-maintaining. Until then the plants will periodically need to be weeded and losses will be replaced, Mr Lens told the 'Leader'.

"Planting on riverbanks is a very environmentally friendly thing to do and very favoured by Environment Waikato," he added.

The Walkways Group has had the southern bank fenced off last month to keep stock out, and obtained the plants from HELP, using part of a grant they received from Environment Waikato.

"There is a need to retire the riverbank from grazing and keep stock out of the river. The plants act as a filter for farm run-off, help stabilise the riverbank and help to keep the river cool.

"This part of the Ohinemuri suffers from overheating which reduces the available oxygen making it harder for fish to survive," he said.

Mr Jenks explained that if the river is too warm this increases algae growth and reduces visibility in the water. There is very little cover such as overhanging vegetation in many parts of the Ohinemuri. Fish need this not only to hide from predators but also as a place where they can lay their eggs.

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Waihi District Walkways Inc. PO Box 241 Waihi New Zealand

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