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Toitū Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand is working with Te Rūnanga o Arowhenua and the Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai (DOC) to restore the Waipopo wetland north of Timaru.

In early December basalt boulders will be installed along the southern edge of Penny Lane, the gravel access road which leads down to the Opihi River mouth beside the Waipopo wetland.

A white-faced heron

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The boulders are being installed to protect the wetland from damage by preventing vehicle access and rubbish dumping. 

Penny Lane will be closed for approximately three weeks while the boulders are installed. During this time the road will also be improved to reduce potholes and to create car parking areas.

Head of Crown Property at Toitu Te Whenua, Jerome Sheppard says once the boulders are in place access will be possible via walking tracks between the boulders.

“Stopping vehicle access will allow the community to continue using the wetland for recreational activities including fishing and walking while preventing people from driving onto the wetland to four-wheel drive or do donuts,” said Mr Sheppard. 

Once boulders are in place and the area is protected from further damage proposed work to restore vegetation and habitat inside the wetland will be able to get underway. 

Two locked forestry-style gates will be installed at points along the south edge of Penny Lane. This is so authorities and contractors can continue to access the wetland area for weed control and stop-bank maintenance works.

The Waipopo Lagoon is adjacent to the DOC-managed Orakipaoa wetland, a nationally significant habitat for wetland birds including banded dotterel, black fronted tern and black stilt. The lagoon contains land administered by Toitū Te Whenua and DOC.


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