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Published: 2012-12-11 00:00:00

A Waikato Regional Council operation to clear about 0.2 hectares of mangroves at Whangamata got underway today.

The work by a contractor – announced last week – is an early start to clearance originally scheduled to begin in March next year.

The early start followed work over several months by the council’s Whangamata mangroves project manager Emily O’Donnell to get things started as soon as possible.

The work is expected to be carried out over two low tide cycles, with the mangroves being cut and brought back to the boat ramp on the council’s barge. Some of the mangroves being removed are large and so will be cut into sections to make them easier to handle.

The mangroves will be mulched on a local reserve. The mulch will be stored, with the intention of using it in plantings around the harbour.

Ms O’Donnell was on site yesterday to mark out the site along with Whangamata Ratepayers Association chairman Brett Wilson.

“It’s great to be shifting into implementation phase and making a start to this clearance work,” said Ms O’Donnell.

The work - at a site known as Area C on the north-eastern, waterside edge of the harbour - is due to be completed tomorrow.

The Environment Court has previously given the regional council permission to clear around 18 hectares of mangroves at Whangamata over several years as well as the clean up of 4.2 hectares.

Larger scale clearance is due to start in March.