Stuff - Group collaborates to clean up waterways and restore native bush

Written by Renee Clayton

Keen environmentalists have stepped in to restore 8000 native plants and trees along Mill Stream in Warkworth.

The nationwide campaign, Million Metres is a project of the Sustainable Business Network - a group of around 500 companies across the country who work together to better New Zealand's waterways.

The group works with landowners and community organisations to restore bush to properties.

The Simperingham family owns the land which borders Parry Kauri Park and Mill Stream in North Auckland where the plants and trees will be placed in July.

Million Metres spokeswoman Alaina Pomeroy said the family is working with the QEII National Trust, Auckland Council and Million Metres Streams to restore 510 metres of Mill Stream.

"A lot of people are concerned with water quality issues in New Zealand so we need to get stuck in and help people like the Simperingham family who are wanting to do projects on their land and make a change."

Adam Simperingham said it is great to think they are helping turn the tide on the adverse consequences of agriculture.

"The trees planted this year will almost immediately improve the water quality and will enhance the habitat for native species.

"Reverting the planted area back to native bush will have an impact that lasts centuries."

Pomeroy said the stream joins Hepburn Creek and flows into the Mahurangi River below Warkworth.

"From there, the river flows into the Mahurangi Harbour and finally into the Hauraki Gulf."

For the project to be successfully completed and maintained they need to raise $36,210 and so far have more than $4000.

Pomeroy said the stream is home to a number of rare and "at risk" species.

"These include long-fin eel (tuna), freshwater crayfish (koura) and freshwater mussels (kakahi)."

Native fish such as banded kokopu are also present in the shaded pools along the stream.

QEII National Trust spokesman Chris Floyd said the planting will also combat erosion.

"It will be another small step to improve the water quality of the Mahurangi Estuary and the Hauraki Gulf that is a playground and food source for so many residents of the Warkworth area."

Simperingham said "Chris and I have discussed the preparatory work to remove weed trees and plants at the site.

"Like baking a cake, good preparation is the key to success. Once we achieve our funding goal, we can start prepping the site."

The group will be hosting a community planting day on July 1.