World Wetlands Day 1999 in New Zealand: 1

17/02/1999

Activities reported for World Wetlands Day 1999

WORLD WETLANDS DAY - February 2, 1999

Creating wetlands for the future of threatened and endangered wading birds

The Department of Conservation in Twizel has been industriously rebuilding wetlands to provide habitat for 21 species of waterbirds, including the endangered kaki/black stilt and the threatened tara/black-fronted tern.

Project River Recovery has completed two wetland development projects near Twizel. The first is an extension to the Ruataniwha Wetland, while the second is adjacent to Lake Poaka and will be officially opened in February.

Project River Recovery manager Kerry Brown says doubling the size of Ruataniwha has resulted in more birds nesting in the area. "It was amazing to see how quickly the birds took to the wetland extension. Within a couple of weeks the tara/black fronted tern were nesting there. This is incredibly exciting as they are a threatened bird, and the sooner they adapt to a new area the sooner they will breed."

At both sites water levels will be managed using stop log weirs, to provide optimal habitat and feeding grounds during the breeding season.

A future option at both sites is to protect native wildlife within the wetlands by erecting electric fences to exclude introduced predators such as cats, ferrets hedgehogs and stoats.

"At the moment we’re testing how effective the electric fence is at the existing Ruataniwha Wetland. If we can prove the fences are as good as we think they are, we’ll consider putting up more."

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