This is a response from Thames Coromandel District Council to Lee Barraclough’s letter to the editior, 2 November issue of The Informer concerning weed control in Kuaotunu.
Spraying in Kūaotunu
We are aware of some concerns regarding weed control on public reserves in Kūaotunu.
In February 2021, in preparation for restoration work including removing pest plants, some small native trees were lost as a result of the spraying process. Weed spraying is a necessary step to ensure the success of the overall restoration project. The 2021 restoration planting that was planned unfortunately had to be cancelled due to COVID traffic light system restrictions.
Earlier this year there were a few changes to the restoration programme. As a result of these changes, Council’s new Coastal Restoration Coordinator has taken on the planting programme to restore this area.
Native species Ficinia nodosa (also known as wiwi or knobby club rush), Phormum cookianum(harakeke flax) and Dodonaea viscosa (ake ake) have been replanted in July 2022 as the first stage of the restoration project, which will continue next year.
There has been an increase in hand weeding, which is done monthly with the help of the community. Volunteer numbers are increasing, which we hope will reduce the spraying required on planted sites.
Early this month our Council’s Parks and Reserves maintenance contractors recruited dedicated dune staff to maintain the restoration areas and work with the volunteers to remove weeds.
The Coromandel has over 400km of coastline and 100,000m2 of dune area managed by our contractors. We use sprays as the most cost-effective option to control invasive weeds. In this case, the invasive exotic marram grass that is present, spreads extremely fast with a deep root and rhizome system which makes it difficult to control. If we let weeds spread from the reserves to the beaches, it will damage our healthy resilient dune systems and the native species that live there. Our dunes are important buffers between the land and the ocean, and will play a vital role in the protection against sea level rise. You can read more about this here: www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/services/publications/fragile-a-guide-to-waikato-dunes/
We are working with our contractors so they continue to follow best practice, including updating our signage around restoration projects.
We are also really fortunate to have a number of CoastCare volunteer groups around the Coromandel who care a lot about their dune areas and native plants and help us with our dune restoration and weeding programmes. We would love it if more of the community could get involved and help protect our coast together - www.facebook.com/CoastCareWaikato
Communications Team Leader
Thames-Coromandel District Council
To The Editor.
The latest ocean report makes frightening reading as it shows that climate change continues to march on, and that capitalism is obstructive to remedying this, and the Minister for Climate Change seems impervious to innovative solutions.
First, the pollution of our seawater by sediment in land runoff will need more regulations about pine forest planting and harvesting, and farm fertilizers. Economics should not be more important than the ocean’s health.
Secondly, seawater acidification is increasing, this is the CO2 dissolving in the oceans surface. Why worry? Shellfish of every sort take dissolved limestone out of seawater to grow their shells, but dissolved CO2 attacks this. Will shellfish disappear before careless humanity can harvest them?
Thirdly, the temperature of the oceans is rising, and is acting as a sink to mitigate global warmth, but the upset to our food source will cause famine.
What can we do? Raise the issue with all leaders. Use the electrical power running the aluminum smelter to hydrolyze seawater. This will combat CO2 buildup and be, at least, something that the Government has the power to do.
Peter H Wood
Picture: spraying in Kuaotunu