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Published: 2017-07-14 09:00:00

Visitors to Taupō’s Riverside Park will see a few changes over the coming weeks as native shrubs and trees are planted to help reduce the effects of erosion.

The reserve sits on the banks of the Waikato River and is home to the Taupō Market and events such as the annual Taupō Summer Concert. It is also used frequently by walkers and runners and features a walkway that runs along the edge of the river.

Recent weather conditions have caused significant erosion of the riverbank, and it has meant a wooden boardwalk has needed to be removed, with a section of walkway close to falling into the river.

District parks operations manager Greg Hadley said more erosion was likely, so Taupō District Council was working with Waikato Regional Council to take steps to help combat further damage.

“The first step is to fell six eucalyptus trees from the edge of the riverbank as these trees are in a state of decline and at risk of falling into Waikato River, which would cause major issues with the control gates. The trees’ stumps and root systems will be left in place to help hold the riverbank together but the trees will be felled on to the reserve.

“Once the trees have been felled and cleared we’ll plant the reserve a distance away from the riverbank with native plants, shrubs and trees to future-proof this section of the reserve.”

Mr Hadley said the concept of planting away from the current bank of the river was in alignment with a managed retreat approach, which allowed the river edge to naturally recede rather than providing walls to prevent this occurring.

“The planting will slow down the natural erosion but it is not intended to stop it,” he said. “The planting primarily provides a barrier to access this part of the riverbank to ensure public safety and prevent tracks from people causing more erosion.”

The work is part of the Lake Taupō Erosion and Foreshore Strategy, a joint agreement between Taupō District Council and Waikato Regional Council to guide management of the erosion and flood risk around the Taupō District.

Waikato Regional Council’s section manager for Taupō/Upper Waikato Anne McLeod said the two councils were working well together to mitigate the effects of erosion.

“Regional council staff are supportive of the steps Taupō District Council is making to address public safety at Riverside Park. We’re also very supportive of the proposed planting plan which will help with the long-term management of erosion at this popular and well-used public reserve.”

Tree felling work will be carried out by Treescape and will start on Monday, 17 July. It is expected the work will take around a week to complete. A large area of the reserve will be fenced off while the felling takes place for the safety of the community, but will not impact on the weekly Taupō Market.