If you’re undecided about what to do about the mangroves in Whangamata’s harbour and estuary, drop in to the Healthier Harbour information day anytime between 10am and 2pm this Saturday. It’s being held at the Thames-Coromandel District Council office on Port Road in Whangamata.
Last week Environment Waikato distributed an eight-page mailer to all Whangamata ratepayers outlining the issues that are a risk to Whangamata’s harbour and the work that needs to be done to address those risks.
Six options for managing mangroves were also detailed in the mailer.
Based on a request from the Whangamata community, Environment Waikato identified approximately eight hectares of mangroves for removal earlier this year.
In addition to the option of removing eight hectares, an additional five scenarios have been developed. These would take mangrove coverage back to the historic distribution of mangroves in the harbour in 2002, 1993, 1978, 1965 and 1944.
“Now we need Whangamata ratepayers and residents to tell us which option they prefer,” said Environment Waikato’s river and catchment services group manager Scott Fowlds.
However, Mr Fowlds pointed out that council’s decision on how Whangamata’s mangroves will be managed was not quite as simple as a numbers game.
“We will need to balance what the community wants with what’s best for the environment and what’s affordable. And once a decision has been made, we will need to determine whether further consultation through a formal process is necessary.
“We will also need to go through the appropriate resource consent process.”
In addition to finding out which mangrove management option Whangamata ratepayers and residents prefer, Environment Waikato is also seeking feedback on:
- the issues identified in the Draft Whangamata Harbour Plan that are a risk to the harbour
- the priority works proposed in the Draft Whangamata Catchment Management Plan to address the sedimentation and flooding issues identified in the harbour plan, and the timeframe over which the work will be done.
Whangamata ratepayers who have not yet received the mailer can request a copy by calling Environment Waikato’s freephone 0800 800 401. The full harbour and catchment plans and mangrove management options report can be downloaded from www.ew.govt.nz/projects/whangamata/index.htm.