As part of the work to increase the overall health of the Manawatu River, a group of organisations including Horizons Regional Council, NZ Landcare Trust and the Manawatu Estuary Trust have been busy engaging with landowners, iwi and community groups to identify community support for a project to improve native fish populations along Whitebait Creek, which flows through the township of Foxton Beach.
Horizons Regional Council have provided $30 000 of initial funding for this project in their last annual plan. NZ Landcare Trust is applying for additional funding to extend the reach of the project, further up the Whitebait Creek catchment.
“Whitebait Creek has stood out for its potential for a project like this, as it has been prized by locals for generations for its migrating whitebait” explains Alastair Cole, the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Coordinator from NZ Landcare Trust.
“Unfortunately, this whitebait population is under threat regionally and locally due to habitat loss, overfishing of whitebait, illegal white baiting practices and degrading water quality. This project will address some of these issues.”
The Whitebait Creek catchment is made up of approximately 2000 hectares of pastoral farming and forestry and is located to the immediate north of Foxton Beach township. Its furthest tributary extends approximately 10.5 kilometres from the RAMSAR notified Manawatu Estuary, with the catchment area being a network of naturalised drains plus 5 large dune lakes and bordering wetlands which have an area in excess of 41 hectares.
The first work on this project is to begin during the week beginning on the 23rd April 2012, with overseas volunteers working with Conservation Volunteers New Zealand undertaking some site preparation work on land alongside the creek within Foxton Beach township.
If you would like further information on the project or are interested in becoming involved in the project, please contact Alastair Cole from NZ Landcare Trust at the Manawatu/Whanganui office on 0800 526 322 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information about NZ Landcare Trust can be found on the website- www.landcare.org.nz