When I first heard about erosion in the Hunua Ranges causing havoc for Auckland’s water supply I wondered if it was because of recent deforestation. Drone footage shot by Watercare confirmed that theory for me (see stills below from this video). It seems strange media are not talking about it. To me it looks like just another case of our water being compromised for private profit.
A little bird told me Watercare own the land and were in the midst of replanting it with natives – it would be good to know the full details. I will email them.
(2,089-72 = 2017) So sometime in 2017 they decided to start harvesting. But the wood in the pictures looks at least months old. My guess is the harvesting that caused the contamination was done in 2016 for private profit. Hard to tell from the information received. Awaiting a report with interest.
I am scoping a project I would like to build as a web app. To get an idea of how much work was involved in creating one I made a quick test app and published it here on the Apple App Store. Given my skill set the design work was a small part of the job (12%), CSS & JS was three times more (38%) and the rest of my time was spent on new stuff to do with getting the app to run on an iPhone (60%). I can probably halve that on my next project but it was a lot harder than I expected.
It’s a fun app, you can make lists like this 😀
Everyone was really impressed with Eugenie Sage when we presented the petition to her at Point England today. I have put together a press release to explain that I didn’t cause the housing crisis (ridiculous!).
Smil, V. 2003. The Earth’s Biosphere: Evolution, Dynamics, and Change, MIT Press
Today I presented to the Local Government and Environment select committee on the Point England Development Enabling Bill. Link to submission below.
Things I learnt:
- Committee members will not read your submission before hand so make sure you spend most of your time covering your key points.
- You may only have 5 minutes but double if you are an organisation.
- Try and say something unique but the committee definitely needs to hear the same points made twice before they sink in.
- Ask for Powerpoint facilities before the hearing is scheduled.
Ngāti Paoa have been great and let me talk to Morphum who are doing an Environmental Assessment for consenting purposes. No one has made any promises and I am anxious the developers are not incentivised to do right thing for the birds, but I am optimistic. Note the logo on the development website above.
Images have been released of the Point England concept plan.
Although it looks pretty and I welcome the Omaru creek enhancements (that Watercare have been working on) and the walkway upgrades (that Auckland Council have been working on) there are some major problems:
- 50% of the existing dotterel nesting ground will be replaced with houses (click on the map below).
- Northern New Zealand dotterel don’t use wetlands or go near trees, they need open space. However the proposed wetland will be great for the pukeko and spur-winged plover which predate the dotterel.
- The houses and pathways will bring people cats and dogs into the area destroying the bird roost. The Tamaki Estuary will loose 50-90% of its remaining shorebirds (mostly South Island pied oyster catchers).
But lets not take my word for it (I am not a ecological scientist). We need an independent ecological impact assessment done before the bill is passed.
Follow the development at savePE.org.nz
After surveyors interrupted the start of the breeding season at Point England I was worried about what someone might be planning. With fantastic support from Auckland Council we have been looking after the endangered New Zealand Dotterel that nest in the paddock for several years now.
It’s been hard work but the dog walkers in particular have been awesome, and we have had some real highs like the fledging of our first dotterel chick and regular visits from one of New Zealand most critically endangered birds the shore plover.
The paddocks have cows which keep the grass short, but the birds do not come for the grass. Migratory birds like bar-tailed godwits fly from the other side of the world to feed in the expansive mud flats of the Tamaki Estuary. When the tide comes in all the wading birds seek refuge above the high tide line. But if you look on Google you will see there are no roosting areas along the margins of the Tamaki. There is some green but it comes with trees, dogs or rugby balls. So the majority of the white faced herons, royal spoonbill, South Island oystercatchers, variable oystercatchers, New Zealand dotterel, banded dotterel and pied stilts all make there way to the paddocks. For most of the year there are small ponds in the paddock so when a harrier flies over and sends hundreds of birds into the air its like your’e in a David Attenborough documentary.
So this was released today. A bill to turn 11.7ha of the 48ha reserve into 300 houses will be introduced to Parliament tomorrow. It doesn’t mention any wildlife whatsoever.
Here is my map of the area which shows where nationally vulnerable dotterel have nested in the past (this will now be houses).
I asked Auckland Council about the surveyors and was told they could tell me nothing. I have lots of signage in the area and yet no one has consulted with me or anyone who works with the birds.
When the houses, people dogs and cats come, where will the Tamaki birds go? For those of you who know Tahuna Torea its a beautiful place but its not suitable habitat for wading birds. Dotterel have never bred there and with the mangroves, trees and people it is no longer the resting place of Torea (Oystercatcher). That job has been Point Englands for decades. Data here.
So with this last development will the Tamaki Estuary no longer have shore birds?
Follow the development at savePE.org.nz
One of the hardest aspects of restoring and maintaining native habitat is weed control. Cliff faces are the most expensive often requiring carrying heavy loads to remote places and abseiling or a helicopter. Today I watched as DOC, Motuihe Trust and Yamaha trailed spraying pampas from an unmanned helicopter. The RMAX helicopters are piloted by remote control and used in a wide range of industrial and research applications overseas. The trial was a success and the team have plans to further improve the precision of the technology.