Volunteers healing sick stream

Last updated 05:00 18/12/2013
Willow PKC

STEPPING UP: Volunteers help establish native on the banks of the Papakura Stream in Brookby.

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A lack of plant and animal life won the Papakura Stream the dubious honour of being named one of the sickest streams in Auckland this year.

But thanks to the help of volunteers its condition is slowly being turned around, with eels, insects and native birds making their homes in and around its waters.

Brookby farm owner Nicky Auld says the stream's health gets worse the closer it gets to the Manukau Harbour.

That's why she has got community volunteers involved to help recreate the stream's natural state as it passes through her farm.

About 2km of the stream and adjoining waterways have been fenced off and planted with natives.

Four local schools have done the planting with the help of Rotary and Trees for Survival.

In the latest effort nine volunteers worked to help restore the fragile wetland by clearing weeds from around the young plants and drilling and injecting poison into weedy willows.

"Follow-up maintenance is a very important part of conservation planting and the conservation volunteers made plant release and willow control work very enjoyable and rewarding," Ms Auld says.

"Together we have created this amazing new habitat which is already home and feeding grounds for many ducks, shags and coastal birds, tui, wood pigeons, moreporks, fantails, eels and insect species."

Ms Auld hopes other land-owners along the stream will be inspired to restore their section of the riverbank.

"The stream's water quality is greatly enhanced which is vital in this catchment," she says.

"It's fantastic to have such great community volunteer involvement."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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