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Our Environment: Issue 13 Summer 1997

Our Environment: Christchurch City Council's Environmental Newsletter

Facelift Planned For The Spit

The South Brighton/Avon Heathcote estuary spit is about to undergo a gradual facelift.

As part of Coast Care's development programme, the Spit is being revegetated and developed to enhance its natural features and improve recreational opportunities.

At present people and dogs wander through rank grass and old burnt elderberry and blackberry, weeds flourish. The nastier ones are boneseed, boxthorne, old man's beard and blackberry. Motor bikes, four wheel drive vehicles and fires have ravaged parts of the Spit.

Rodney Chambers, Coast Care Development Officer, recalls that the first planting of nursery grown native species was a disaster. "One week after the planting Christchurch was hit by a severe snap frost which spelt death to many of the plants. Rabbits moved in and then a wild fire swept through the area destroying most of the remaining plants."

Planting is now done after weed and pest control. The site has recently been poisoned for rabbits, rabbit proof fences will protect the more palatable species while dry, weedy species will be removed from the site.

Coast Care, a small team in the Parks Unit, will be helped by the Forest Research Institute which is researching coastal dune vegetation. Institute staff are looking at ways of controlling the introduced marran grass which can smother other plants. Community service and task force green subsidised workers have helped with planting and landscaping. Periodic detention teams have also been a great help removing weed species and the Wai Ora Trust is involved with the planting and care of new vegetation.

The local community, which has planted and maintained plots since last year, has also been instrumental in getting funding for an interpretive panel. This panel is at the design stage and will provide basic information and encourage visitors to respect the native vegetation and wildlife. Control of dogs is especially important as the edge of Spit is an important site for roosting migratory birds including wrybill and godwits.

Future provision of public facilities such as car parks and public toilets was discussed at a recent Coast Care public planting day which added another hectare of flax, cabbage tree, sedge, matagouri and other sand loving/surviving plants to the Spit.

For further information call the team at Coast Care - Kay, Rodney, Jason and Brian. Phone/fax 382-1678

Kay Holder
Coast Care Co-ordinator

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