Riparian planting to brighten Upper Hutt’s Mangaroa River

Upper Hutt City Council and Forest & Bird are looking to partner with local farmers and land owners to improve the Mangaroa River’s water quality.  

UPPER HUTT, Wellington NZ, 01 FEB 2017—As a major tributary of the Hutt River, the Mangaroa River has been identified as a significant contributor to the overall water quality downstream. The river makes its way through several rural properties in the Whitemans and Mangaroa Valleys.

Riparian zones are the strips of land next to the river where soils are wet and vulnerable to runoff and erosion. Planting these areas with native flora can help to filter nutrients, sediment, and bacteria, preventing them from entering the waterway and improving the overall quality of the river.

Additional benefits to riparian planting and management include healthier river ecosystems, biodiversity, and aquatic habitat. Downstream in the Hutt River, less nutrient inflow should help reduce the occurrence of cyanobacteria (toxic algae).

Upper Hutt City Council’s Sustainability Strategy, identifies riparian planting as one way of improving the water quality of the Mangaroa River. The Mangaroa River Restoration Project is a Council-formed partnership with Forest & Bird to assist local land owners in planting out riparian strips along the Mangaroa River. The partnership includes the provision of plants and advice, along with the coordination of volunteer labour to undertake the planting. Land owners are being asked to contribute to the partnership by fencing off their planted areas.

Local farmer, Jeff Berkett has had two zones planted out through the project. “Both areas that have been planted are thriving. Apart from just being the right thing to do, it has had huge benefits in preventing erosion.”

Council is now looking for more land owners who would be interested in improving their riparian zones along the Mangaroa River. If you would like to know more, or if you would like assistance with riparian planting on your land, please contact Council’s Sustainability Officer on (04) 527 2169.