Matthew Martin is a senior reporter at the Rotorua Daily Post

Floating wetland slips anchor

The world's largest man-made floating wetland, which will soon sit on Lake Rotorua opposite the airport, has slipped its moorings causing some minor damage.

The wetland has been moored in a bay at Sulphur Point until the plants have established themselves and root systems have grown sufficiently for it to be moved to its final resting place.

Rotorua District Council asset manager Clayton Oldham said the damage was spotted on Friday last week. "The western end of the wetland has come loose, we don't know if it's been cut or the rope has broken somehow.

"Anyway, it has rotated on its eastern end and has spun around and has caught itself on some rocks. This has caused it to concertina slightly as a result of the wind." Mr Oldham said that a repair team said it should unfold when pulled back into position with little or no damage.

"It looks bad, but it's only minor damage." The environmental initiative on Lake Rotorua is believed to be the world's largest man-made floating wetland and contains more than 20,000 hand-sewn native plants grown from Rotorua-sourced seeds.

The project is a partnership among the Rotorua District Council, Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Te Arawa lakes Trust.

It is estimated the wetland will remove up to four tonnes of nitrogen and more than a tonne of phosphorus from the lake yearly.

As well as helping improve lake water quality, the wetland will also spell out the word, Rotorua, in giant, floating letters. The structure is 160m long by 40m wide; the fibre mat covering its surface is constructed from half a million recycled plastic soft drink bottles.

The wetland would be re-secured with better anchor points until it has finished bedding itself down and would be placed opposite the airport by February.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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