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Published: 2013-03-08 00:00:00

Waikato Regional Council is next week due to start removing 4.6 hectares of mature mangroves at Whangamata as it trials a number of mechanical clearance methods.

It is the first phase of substantial work under the terms of an Environment Court consent granted to the council’s river and catchment services group. The consent is to remove around 18 hectares of mangroves and tidy up previously cleared plants.

Besides the initial 4.6 hectares of work over coming weeks, the tidy up work at previously cleared sites and minor hand clearance of 0.5 hectares will also go ahead in this phase of the project.

“It’s great to be making a start to the first significant chunk of mature mangrove clearance,” said Whangamata mangroves project manager Emily O’Donnell.

“We will be trialing various mechanical clearance methods in this first phase so that we can decide on which will be the most effective for the rest of the project.”

A Whangamata-based contractor is being used for the work, which will be carried out two hours either side of low tide.

This year’s work will commence in the upper harbour to allow the site to be used for burning mangroves cleared from other sites at Whangamata in future. Work will then progress to an area in the Moanaanuanu estuary.

Ms O’Donnell said residents with any queries about the clearance can contact her on 0800 800 401.