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Over 200 precious native plants marked at Westshore

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Westshore locals and enthusiasts from as far away as Wairoa, joined ecologists Kay Griffiths and Marie Taylor on Saturday to mark, map and count the precious native plants remaining in a Westshore area colloquially known as The Gap.

The 8000m2 shingle beach ecosystem is located on The Esplanade at the end of the airport cross runway. As the sole representative of this vegetation type and shingle beach ecosystem in Napier City, and potentially providing habitat for indigenous invertebrates, Napier City Council has identified it as a Significant Natural Area (SNA).

The aim is to protect and enhance this important ecosystem, encouraging our local biodiversity to thrive.

“The first step has been to find out how many of these precious plants are here and we have been surprised to mark and count over two hundred” says Debbie Monahan of Biodiversity Hawke’s Bay.

“We found heaps! In fact, we nearly ran out of markers” said Ms Griffiths from The Conservation Company. “This is an awesome start to this important restoration project, and it was great to see so many people keen to help out and learn more” she said.

Ms Griffiths said the precious native species include the ‘nationally threatened’ Muehlenbeckia ephedroides (Leafless pohuehue), the Pimelea Pinatoro (Sand Daphne) and the ‘at risk’ Coprosma acerosa (Sand Coprosma).

Plans are being developed to restore the site with Biodiversity Hawke’s Bay facilitating input from local community members, Te Taiwhenua o Te Whanganui ā Orotu, experts, and key partner, Hawke’s Bay Airport Ltd.

“With the first stage of the project complete, we can start the second stage of enhancing the indigenous biodiversity of The Gap by removing inappropriate exotics and weeds.” says Ms Monahan.

Ms Monahan says this is a fantastic opportunity for local groups and businesses to get involved in enhancing and restoring their precious local biodiversity. So often significant sites like these are more inland, off the beaten track and harder to get to.

The site has been divided into six sections, for different groups to work on. The local Westshore Residents and Development Association and Te Taiwhenua o Te Whanganui ā Orotu have put their hands up, but there is still the opportunity to be part of this exciting project.

If you are a local group, school or business and you are interested in being part of this local project, then email Debbie Monahan, general manager, Biodiversity Hawke’s Bay on gm@biodiversityhb.nz

Photo: Theresa Hurst and Justin Cowen, a Kaitiaki Ranger from Te Wai Mauri. 

17 November 2021

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