Straight line driving

Our beach is a road and many people use it to drive to a destination then return. Unfortunately a few also spend time doing wheelies and donuts or taking their vehicles up into the dunes. Actions like that damage our beach, killing juvenile shellfish, increasing erosion and threatening birds and other wildlife.

Deep ruts from donuts in the sand, observed 22 October 2018.
Deep ruts from donuts in the sand, observed 22 October 2018.

The item below is in relation to Te Oneroa-a-Tohe (Ninety Mile Beach), but it has lessons for us too:

The major concerns … included the impact of vehicles on shellfish.

“Every toheroa and every tuatua begins its life as a minute juvenile in the upper tidal area of the beach, where they are at their most vulnerable to damage from vehicles,” he said.

“Vehicles driven in straight lines appear to do limited damage to these shellfish, but rapid accelerating, heavy braking, doing wheelies and donuts kill thousands, possibly millions. This damage is plain to see for anyone who cares to look.

“We have quotas on gathering shellfish to sustain species, but a thoughtless driver/rider can kill several lifetimes of entitlement in a few minutes.”

Dune erosion was another “very real and accelerating situation” that was hugely exacerbated by vehicles, while historic middens, “a view into our past,” had in places been reduced to dust, and nesting birds lived under constant threat from vehicles intruding into their areas.

Source: We Love Our Beach app launched in the Far North – NZ Herald.

Have ammoniacal nitrogen levels in Waikawa Stream dropped?

This item from July 2017 is interesting. While the water in our stream may still be dirty and too often have high E. Coli levels, some pollutants are dropping (maybe) — Farmers ‘heartened’ by water quality improvements:

The second tour was along the Waikawa Stream in the Horowhenua district, ending at the Waikawa estuary. Farmers discovered the Waikawa stream contained many rare and endangered native fish species and valued whitebait habitat. Changes to farming practices over recent years have contributed to improvements of the in-stream health.…

Ammoniacal nitrogen levels in [a Waikawa farmer’s] local stream are dropping.

“It was quite heartening to hear that. It shows we are making a difference and encourages us to keep going so that next time we do a tour it’ll be better again. We want to leave the environment better than what it was when we first came here.”

Other feedback from farmers who took part said they were amazed to see the vast array of living organisms in the streams.

Farmers were reminded that improving water quality didn’t just rest on their shoulders, it takes a group effort; requiring the support of other agricultural sectors, industry and urban communities, and it will take time.

Note too our many rare and endangered native fish species and valued whitebait habitat.

Did you know that the stream at the footbridge has two sources? One branch starts up round North Manakau Road, while the other comes from the hills at South Manakau, runs past The Greenery and Quarter Acre cafe and the two join around Whakahoro Road. See more details at Red river blues.

The thing is, we recently received, and are still analysing, a spreadsheet of water testing results from Horizons Regional Council. In the column for ammoniacal nitrogen, the measured level at 16 September 2015 was 0.01 grams per cubic metre. As at 21 June 2017 it was 0.10. Those are the start and end dates on the spreadsheet. A graph showing levels between those dates does not have a discernable downward trend.

Ammoniacal nitrogen levels in the Waikawa Stream, per Horizons Regional Council monitoring.
Ammoniacal nitrogen levels in the Waikawa Stream, per Horizons Regional Council monitoring.

So, what’s up with that then?

Quick work on the Spinifex planting

We have such a fantastic community! On Saturday 29 September 2018 about 30 or 40 volunteers turned up and over the course of a couple of hours planted 3,500 Spinifex plants.

The plants were supplied by Horowhenua District Council and we’d like to thank Ann, Ben, Gus, Marjo, Sean and the others who worked so hard alongside our volunteers to get the plants to the right places. They also laid on a great barbecue at the end of the work.

Continue reading “Quick work on the Spinifex planting”

Important recycling change from 01 October 2018

Horowhenua District Council will not accept soft plastics in its kerbside recycling collection after Monday 1 October.

Council’s Environmental Engineer, Ryan Hughes, said soft plastics are the ones you can scrunch up, such as food wrap, plastic shopping bags, food packets and bread bags.

He said the decision to stop collecting soft plastics was made partly because of the problems soft plastics cause during sorting.

“Recycling is sorted with machinery, and soft plastics can jam the machinery and cause delays.”

In addition, there have been changes in the global recycling market that mean fewer companies want to buy recycled soft plastics, he said.

After Monday 1 October, recycling crates containing soft plastics will no longer be emptied.

Source: Soft plastics to be removed from kerbside recycling collection – Horowhenua District Council.

If you rent out your property please make sure visitors know how to handle rubbish and recycling.

Special spinifex Saturday — we need your help!

The Horowhenua District Council have 6,000 or more Spinifex plants to go in to help stabilise our sand dunes. We need willing helpers on Saturday 29 September 2018 to plant them. Please bring your whānau and friends for an hour or two.

Meet at the north end of Reay Mackay Grove at 10 am on Saturday 29 September 2018. Bring gardening gloves and a trowel if possible (spares may be available). A Council worker will dig the holes and get the plants into the right area and it’s our mahi to put them in the holes.

At the end of the planting the Council will put on a BBQ for us too.

Continue reading “Special spinifex Saturday — we need your help!”