Mangrove Management

Where are we at with mangroves? Great question. And one, we're trying to get to the bottom of with our local authority and the Waikato Regional Council, who are in the process of drawing up new rules and legislation to manage mangroves (although this could take many years).

Status of Mangrove Control as a Community Group

A couple of years ago, Whangamata Harbour Care would organise a day to target an area in the harbour, to tackle the spread of mangroves, by removing mangrove seedlings. This was great - a community could get together and tackle a problem. No costs or expense was passed onto the council, meaning it was a very cost effective method for them (and therefore ratepayers) to reduce the spread of mangroves. We had some wonderful businesses in town, such as Bunnings and New World, who would contribute to tools and a sausage sizzle for the volunteers too. It was a muddy time - but satisfying in the sense, we were aiding the biodiversity that resides in our harbour.

This community act, has been given a cold-wash under the Resource Management Act. And whilst the Waikato Regional Council and TCDC, work through the legal process, we are unable to remove mangrove seedlings, as we were used to. There are now strict consent conditions in place - mainly that they need to be pulled by hand, and disposed off elsewhere. 

 

I wonder if any of these law-makers, have actually seen how many mangrove seeds we are inundated with?

We are proud of the 30years of work we have done. But it is a worry, that a problem that can be managed for basically free, and has little impact to the harbour, is going to destroy all our work, and that of the harbour's health, because of lengthy legal consults.

What can you do?

Whangamata Harbour Care does not support the 'permitted' method of seedling extraction. If you've been on one of the days, the majority of our volunteering members are of a senior age, with hip, back and leg problems. It was hard enough with mechanical means (ie scrub bars), let alone, bending down constantly, and carrying heavy bags of soggy, muddy plants. Simply, it has now become a health and safety issue, if we stoop down to this 'permitted' action.

However, on an individual level, you can remove mangrove seedlings. The consent authorises the removal of seedlings from the harbour and Moana Anu Anu and Otahu estuaries. Under this consent mangrove seedlings (plants less than 20cm in height) can be cut by hand and removed from the coastal marine area between 1 March and 31 August every year. 

 

So, please, if you are physically fit and able, please, please help out!  Post your collection on our Facebook page!

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Not allowed under the RMA consent conditions.

Have your Say!

Council are reviewing the current Waikato Regional Coastal Plan and they are keen to capture the  Communities views and feedback.

This plan sets out the rules for activities in the coastal marine area – that’s the ‘wet’ area of the coast below the high tide mark and extending out to the 12 nautical mile limit (approximately 20km). In this area the coastal plan manages activities like the occupation of space, extraction of sand and other materials, and discharges of contaminants.

Review the Coastal Plan on the Regional Council website here

Please let the Coastal Plan Review Team know your thoughts on how you think issues related to Whangamata Harbour and Estuaries should be managed.

Whilst, in the past Whangamata Harbour Care have orchestrated groups of members to remove seedlings, this process is currently on hold, due to the conditions of the consent for mangrove removal. We feel that they pose health and safety risks for our members. We are awaiting for an update from Waikato Regional Council.

 

Mangroves - For and Against

We are aware there are two schools of thought for mangroves. One for them, one against them. It can be as dividing as the mangrove itself.  How can we manage these opposing thoughts? What is the right answer?

We are fortunate to have Dr. Brian Coffey, who is a senior scientist, and has conducted a number of freshwater and marine ecological studies. He is a wealth of information concerning our harbour, and species that call it home.

With his expertise, and some qualified members, we are addressing concerns relating to sedimentation control and protecting the saltmarshes from overtaking mangroves.​​

Please visit our Birds Page, to read more about why we need to keep mangroves under control.

Other Work in Progress

  • Saga Submission

  • Dark Side

  • Saltmarsh Protection

  • WRC Healthy Environment Initiative

  • Monitoring the SOI between TCDC and

  • Consulting with other estuary groups, and how they manage mangroves