Sunday March 2nd was a red letter day for the Grovetown Lagoon. The Air Force took the lagoon restoration a giant step forward in the journey to open this beautiful spot up to the community. 81 recruits from the Air Force brought their combined brain and brawn and in a morning cleared a huge section of what will become a 3 km public walking track. The recruits who spent the morning at the lagoon are 7 weeks into their 13 week course with the Air Force, and will be going onto various trade positions once they have completed the course.
Aged between 18 and 42 the western side of the lagoon was a constant hum of activity as recruits tackled the problem of immense amounts of downed vegetation, moving branches, tree trunks and rubbish into various pile locations that will be used for both firewood, and also burned once winter approaches when outside fires are permitted once again.
Grovetown Lagoon is an ‘oxbow’ lake and was formed many years ago when the Wairau River changed course, cutting off a bend in the river and forming a circular lake. The lagoon is the last significant component of what was a huge freshwater wetland in this area of Marlborough. Over the years the water quality has declined, and weeds have taken over native vegetation. Vegetation is being restored all around the lagoon through removing willows and other weeds, and then planting native species. These native species provide better habitat for wildlife. The overall aim is to restore the lagoon into a place where there is healthy habitat for fish and wildlife, and where people can come to enjoy the environment and birdlife. The track construction is an integral part of this plan, and the work done by the Air Force would have taken the volunteers many weeks to accomplish.
Volunteers are at the heart of this restoration project which is a combined effort between mana whenua, the Grovetown community,the Marlborough District Council, the Department of Conservation, the Nelson Marlborough Fish and Game Council, and the NZ Landcare Trust. A huge thank you is extended to the Air Force and in particular these recruits for what they accomplished for the Marlborough community.
From TR Katting, Warrant Officer, Base Adjutant: “Operational and training commitments at RNZAF Base Woodbourne remain our primary focus but when and where it can, the RNZAF continues to support assisting with local community activities such as the Grovetown Lagoon project. This type of support cements the relationship between the Base personnel and the local Marlborough community. Woodbourne is part of the local community and we are all Marlburians" .
The lagoon is open to visit at any time. The project welcome further volunteers, as well as sponsors and donors. For further information please contact Jenny Keene: email [email protected] or phone 03 572 7288.Download the full Newsletter