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Wetland recovering thanks to volunteers

SIMON MAUDE
Last updated 05:00 05/02/2014
Twyford

EXTRAORDINARY ENVIRONMENT: Forest and Bird national executive member Tony Dunlop, right, joined Labour MP Phil Twyford on the North Shore leg of his Waitemata kayak tour.

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A Northcote wetland is making a comeback thanks to the efforts of Forest and Bird volunteers.

Tuff's Crater is one of the emerging success stories Labour's associate environment spokesman, Phil Twyford says heralds the rise of "urban environmentalism".

"Right in the heart of the city, even next to an eight-lane motorway, we have this special place." the MP for Te Atatu says.

Mr Twyford has been on a kayak tour of the Waitemata, visiting threatened habitats including Tuff's Crater and Le Roys Bush.

Accompanied by Forest and Bird executive Tony Dunlop, Mr Twyford paddled across the harbour from the Tamaki Estuary to Devonport, where they traced their way around to Northcote.

Forest and Bird volunteer Anne Denny and Northcote College science teacher Kit Hustler met the pair.

Ms Denny has been hard at work eradicating weeds at Tuff's Crater.

Begun in 2000, the crater restoration has seen an explosion of Tui and Pukeko in the area, thanks to the efforts of hundreds of volunteers, she says.

Meanwhile, over the last five years, Mr Hustler has been monitoring pollution levels on nearby Le Roys Creek.

In 2012, the 1.5 kilometre long waterway suffered a sewerage spill that wiped-out native fish stocks in one stretch.

The science teacher says the creek's native fish including banded kokopu and inanga haven't rebounded yet.

People aren't aware of the link between the city's poor sewerage system and dirtied waterways and beaches, Mr Hustler says.

"Le Roys Bush is being used as a major recreational area, it would be nice to see council dollars helping maintain waterways."

Mr Twyford wants to see both central and local government doing more to clean up the run-off and sediment polluted Waitemata.

A marine equivalent of the Auckland plan for the harbour, the Spatial Plan will release its first report in 2015.

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- North Shore Times

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