Community Wetland Restoration and Enhancement Project.
Wetlands are precious... land development over the last 150 years has resulted in the loss of 90% of our original wetlands! New Zealand was once a country rich in diverse saltwater, freshwater, upland and lowland wetlands. In recent years, attitudes have changed and for many, wetlands are now regarded a valuable resource.
There has been a significant growth in on-ground works, with many community groups taking a leading role. This 3 year project, funded by MfE's Community Environment Fund will support new and existing community wetland restoration initiatives by strengthening networks between practitioners and provide opportunities to improve ecological monitoring skills. A key component of this project will be the creation of a wetland monitoring and assessment kit.
WETMAK (Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Kit) is now available online: www.landcare.org.nz/wetmak
Project Update June 2012: Preparing for Launch.
Production of WETMAK (wetland monitoring and assessment kit) is now nearing completion, with launch planned for the end of July. Thorough testing and feedback has helped shape the content, ensuring information is pitched at a level that will really work for community groups. The publication will be laid out in an engaging fashion with helpful photographs and useful tables.
The kit will initially be made available online, a fact that has been taken into accound during the design phase. Therefore documents will be presented in a manner that will make them easy to download and print out. A dedicated page will be created on the website to make access simpler.
If you are interested in recieving notification when WETMAK is launched simply contact Nardene Berry - firstname.lastname@example.org or 07 859 3725
Project Update April 2012: Getting Great Advice.
The advice in this case, came from the participants at a workshop facilitated by the The NZ Landcare Trust. The aim of the workshop was to field trial a draft version of 'WETMAK', a new wetland monitoring kit designed for community use.
The workshop brought together a total of 19 members of community groups, agency staff, NGO’s, landowners and independent ecological consultants. The restored wetland of Chris and Brian Rance formed the ideal site for the workshop. Not only is the site itself beautiful and superbly located next to a kahikatea forest and estuary, it is also easy for groups to move around in and carry out technical exercises.
In order to trial WETMAK, groups of 4-5 participants were teamed up with an expert. Hugh Robertson (DOC), Kerry Bodmin (NIWA), Rachel Griffiths (Auckland Council) and Bev Clarkson (Landcare Research) generously donated their time, functioning as soundboards for their respective groups.
WETMAK comprises a series of six basic modules with supporting templates. Four of the six modules were trialed at the workshop. These included setting up Photopoints, carrying out a wetland “WOF”, vegetation plots, and vegetation mapping. Remaining modules not trialed on the day though still included in WETMAK comprise weed survey and creating a wetland management map. There is also an introductory chapter, and templates for producing Monitoring mini plans as well as Reports (to keep funders happy, and group members informed of progress). The kit is currently being designed by NZ Landcare Trust with the aim of creating a user friendly layout that will be available from the Trust’s website.
Initial feedback has been reassuring, “Brilliant to have some instructions/info on how to monitor. Until now this type of information has been unavailable/hard to find. Community groups usually have to pay for this!”
It’s a real challenge to provide a level of detail which enables users to be relatively self sufficient (i.e. not rely on a lot of expert support), but not produce something resembling a telephone book! Feedback shows that most agreed the wording was “about right”, “pitched well and easy to read”.
Helpful comments were provided about how to enhance the understandability of the modules, such as providing pre-training and making use of DVDs and YouTube as tools for demonstrating techniques. Ideas for additional photos of techniques and diagrams were also put forward. Suggestions for further modules include water quality and macro invertebrates; birds, skinks/geckos and pests; threatened species and fish.
Most participants would recommend the kit to community groups and other potential users for setting up a wetland restoration monitoring programme.
Project Update March 2012: Monitoring Kit for Wetlands.
The community focussed kit for monitoring wetlands is currently in development. The main sections include setting up photopoints and monitoring vegetation, weeds and pests.
To gauge whether key community needs will be met by the kit, a trial will be carried out in March 2012. The main questions to participants will be, for example: “Are the methods easy to follow?” “With basic training, are you confident that you could get reliable results using the kit?”
Once feedback on the kit has been collated, the kit will be updated and a final version produced. This will then be available for download from the NZ Landcare Trust website.