Tidy up keeps marsh healthy

By James Fuller

A massive weekend working bee was held to clean up the Matua estuary at the weekend.

Tauranga Te Papa Rotary Club joined the Matua Estuary Care Group (MECG) in a clean-up operation which was double its normal size.

The 34-strong group tidied a garden area fringing the estuary before venturing out into the water to chop down mangrove seedlings.

"I always use the analogy of not mowing your lawn," said organiser and MECG member Jerry Cowper. "If you don't, then at some stage you'll have grass coming in through your windows. If we didn't control the mangrove seedlings we'd have no estuary to look after."

A social event followed the working bee, which took place between 11.30am-1pm on Saturday.

Mr Cowper thanked the Rotarians for their assistance.

The MECG started in 2006 and Mr Cowper said the benefits of the work it had undertaken were already visible.

"It's great to see the kids out there in their kayaks and P-class yachts or fishing off the jetty, and we have sand now rather than mud. We're always looking for volunteers, though. Come and help protect your environment," Mr Cowper said.

Other work carried out by the MECG included the ongoing control of rats with poisoned bait stations.

Mr Cowper said the work had helped the area's birdlife.

The group was winners of the Trustpower Community Awards Heritage and Environment Section in 2007 and 2008 and runner-up in 2010.

If you're interested in helping the Matua Estuary Care Group call Jerry Cowper on (07) 576 9150.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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