World Wetlands Day
Today Fonterra’s Catchment Care programme celebrates World Wetlands Day at Lake Ngaroto near Hamilton and Lake Waihola near Dunedin, New Zealand. The Day marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar. Every year since 1997, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and community groups around the world take advantage of the opportunity to raise public awareness of the value of wetlands and their benefits to the ecosystem. Tom Newitt, our corporate responsibility manager, says: “Volunteers at Lake Ngaroto are marking the day by building a 200-metre-long boardwalk around the perimeter of the lake.” “This will let the lake’s 20,000 annual visitors enjoy a view the wonderful work being done by our Catchment Care programme at this important water catchment area.” The lake is one of fourteen globally scarce Waipa peat lakes located within the Waikato region, and is frequently used for recreational activities. Lake Ngaroto is also an important habitat for a range of water birds, including the threatened Australasian Bittern, Marsh Crake and Caspian Tern. Volunteers will also remove exotic weed species from the area to encourage native tree growth. “Separately, work is being done at Lake Waihola in Otago, which is part of the Lake Waipori Wetlands, including the internationally-renowned and protected Sinclair Wetlands,” says Tom. Collectively these Otago wetlands are the home to an array of native species including 55 species of wading birds and 12 species of native fish. “Today our team of volunteers will be placing plant protectors around native stems plus weed releasing to help encourage native tree growth, ultimately enhancing this precious wetland complex.” Catchment Care welcomes anyone who would like to volunteer to help contribute to restoring New Zealand’s unique environments. For more information visit www.catchmentcare.co.nz.