Planting at Ototoka Beach to improve stream health

Horizons Regional Council will be joining iwi and community members for a planting day at Ototoka Stream this Friday.

Through Horizons summer swim spot monitoring programme Ototoka Stream has been identified as a site of high bacteria levels. While a catchment-wide effort is required to help improve these levels, the planting day gives the community an opportunity to get involved in helping improve steam health.
Horizons freshwater advisor Scotty Moore says the day has been organised by Te Kaahui o Rauru who have worked with landowners, Whanganui District Council and Horizons to retire land alongside the stream.
“The project involves planting 4,800 native plants across two sites, one on Crown land at the Ototoka waterfall where the stream meets the sea and the other on private and district council land upstream,” he says.
“The majority of the plants have already been put in by Kii Tahi Nursery staff from Patea and the remainder have been put aside for the community to do.”
Mr Moore says Horizons has provided technical and logistical advice for the day to help ensure the plants get the best chance at survival.
“The plants are all endemic to the coastal Whanganui area.  Species chosen include ngaio and coastal tree daisy for their tolerance of the harsh exposed environment and harakeke and purei for their water filtering capabilities to assist in improving water quality.
“Other plants used are compatible with the local native plant composition and will provide shading of the stream and habitat for native fish, birds and insects.”
Te Kaahui o Rauru member Fiona Shaw says the site is popular with whanau and iwi sought funding for the project through Te Wai Maori Fund when it was identified work was required in the area.
“Horizons has kept us informed of stream health in our rohe and previously involved us in a stream monitoring day where we discussed what and how improvements could be implemented. Following this we applied for funding and invited the freshwater team to work with us to improve water quality in the catchment.”
Mr Moore says beyond the planting day Horizons are working closely with a number of landowners in the catchment to improve water quality through stock exclusion and more riparian planting.
“Horizons offers funding for freshwater quality improvement and we would like to hear from any landowners or community groups who are interested in contributing to improving the Ototoka catchment,” he says.
“Grants of up to 50 per cent are available for riparian fencing and planting and over the last year these have helped complete 114km of stream fencing and put 148,000 plants in the ground across the region. Anyone interested can contact the freshwater team on 0508 800 800 or check our website for more information.”
 For more information about the planting work Horizons does across the region follow their #plantinourregion campaign on social media or see here.