Beach team needs help

CIARA PRATT
Last updated 07:38 18/01/2013
Iron Sand

DUNE WARRIORS: Team Iron Sand hope to raise $1000 to protect West Coast sand dunes.

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Two young women are on a mission to rescue West Auckland's sand dunes - but they need help.

Sophie Presland, 19, and Danielle McLean, 20, are part of the global organisation, CISV.

CISV is a peace organisation that encourages young people to make a difference in their local communities and respect cultural differences.

Every year the organisation focuses on a theme and to celebrate last year's focus of sustainability, the Auckland chapter have been working on preserving the sand dunes along West Auckland beaches, mainly focusing on Muriwai's sand dunes.

Te Atatu resident Miss McLean says protecting sand dunes is becoming a bigger issue for all of New Zealand.

"With the wind and the tide, sand builds up and then it recedes. If you and look at the historical photos you think to yourself, ‘what happened?' because since people started developing at Muriwai, the difference in the level of sand is staggering.

"They've gotten to a point where they can't fix themselves and we're left with a really steep slope that will only get worse."

According to the Department of Conservation website, sand dunes prevent erosion on beaches and protect the land behind the dunes as well as native plants.

The group, who have dubbed themselves Team Iron Sand plan to plant as many Spinifex plants on the dunes to help to catch the sand and build the dunes.

They work voluntarily on the dunes doing weeding in between university and other commitments and plan to start planting Spinifex this May.

Auckland Council has granted the group $1000 for the project however they have to match the grant with another $1000 to buy as many Spinifex plants as possible.

"One Spinifex plant that has grown for a couple of years can spread out over a really big area and will be really good at catching the sand," Miss McLean says.

Miss Presland says throughout the CISV project the group has been learning a lot.

"A big part about CISV is learning about why things are important and making it relevant to you.

"When you have a group of young, enthusiastic people you can get a lot done," she says.

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