$80,000 grant ahead of wetland day

CHLOE WINTER
Last updated 10:47 31/01/2014
Jenny Keane
Emma Allen

Jenny Keane the project manager for the Grovetown Lagoon

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An Environment Ministry fund has allocated $80,000 to the restoration of Para wetland.

The money will be announced at a ceremony at the wetland tomorrow to celebrate World Wetland Day.

Also at the ceremony, the 2014 New Zealand Game Bird Habitat Stamp programme will be launched. The stamp is affixed to fishing licences and this year the stamp art features a pukeko with Para wetland in the background. It was painted by by Janette Blackburn of Rotorua.

The Para project group, run by Fish and Game, is working to restore 105 hectares of wetland between Picton and Blenheim that was covered with willow and weeds to native flora and fauna.

Para Wetland project manager Karen Walshe said the $80,000 would enable them to employ ground contractors to control willow re-growth in areas that had been aerially sprayed.

"The wetland is a significant land area and it's very difficult to get into to do the work."

Ms Walshe said she was very excited about the grant.

"I'm totally thrilled. It's a good amount of money and we are really looking forward to moving on with the project."

New Zealand Game Bird Habitat Trust Board has responsibility for distributing money raised through the sale of the habitat stamps. The board has adopted the Para wetland as a special project and worked closely with Nelson Marlborough Fish and Game council to apply for the funding from the Environment Ministry.

The ministry's Community Environment Fund is particularly focused on community initiatives that contribute to reduced greenhouse gas emissions, improve freshwater management, coastal management, improved air quality, protecting biodiversity, and waste management.


EXPLORE WETLAND

Members of the public are invited to visit three wetlands near Blenheim tomorrow.

Activities will be held at Para wetland on State Highway One, the Grovetown Lagoon and the Wither Hills Rarangi wetland at times staggered through the day.

Para wetland between noon and 3pm,

Grovetown between 1pm and 4pm

Wither Hills wetland between 2pm and 5pm.

"We will have activities at each wetland with tree planting and duck calling at the Para wetland, kayaking on the Grovetown lagoon and walking and wood-fired pizza at the Wither Hills wetland so it should be a great afternoon for all the family," said Para Wetland project manager Karen Walshe.

The activities are being held to mark World Wetlands Day.

Booklets with information on each of the wetlands and the activities on offer on Saturday are available from the library, Department of Conservation, Wither Hills Winery and Fish and Game. 

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- The Marlborough Express

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