Grovetown Lagoon is one of just a few natural wetlands remaining on the Wairau Plain.
Historically the lagoon and the adjoining wetlands and waterways were considered a mahinga kai (food resource) by iwi and were highly valued for the abundance of freshwater foods such as inanga (one whitebait species), tuna (freshwater eel) and patiki (flounder).
Long-term neglect of the riparian margins along with silt and effluent discharges into the lagoon resulted in a degraded waterbody . The restoration project aims to improve the water quality and ecological values of the lagoon to provide a better habitat for fish and birds. This will also result in an environment where people can safely fish, row and swim once again.
The Grovetown Lagoon project complements several other projects in the area which are restoring wildlife habitat across the Lower Wairau floodplain, creating a wider network of wetlands.
The Grovetown Lagoon Project presents a unique opportunity for the Marlborough community to come together and bring about positive environmental change, with enhanced ecology, improved water quality and landscape. This project enables members of the community and working groups to share in the responsibility of protecting these threatened habitats of springfed waterways and natural wetlands
The Lagoon is home to a wide variety of birds – the new Loop Track provides easy access to walk right around and see the birds and the lagoon from different viewpoints. Birds seen here include black swan, grey teal, mallard, shoveler duck, scaup, pukeko, coot, paradise duck, black shags, little white throated shags, black backed gulls, kingfishers, welcome swallows, blackbirds, song thrushes, goldfinches, starlings and harrier hawks. Occasional visitors are white herons and royal spoonbills.
Birds can also be viewed from the Bird Hide in the picnic area behind the Rowing Club or out on the water if you have a kayak or dinghy.
As restoration proceeds, and the willow dominated vegetation is converted to that more typical of an east coast wetland, we will see the mix of species change. The results of removal of willows is obvious in this photo . Inter-planting with native species is ongoing and we look forward to seeing the changes as the years go by.