The Rail Trail Project
The aim of this project is to bring back Moho Pererū/NZ Banded Rail and other shore birds to the coastline of the Upper Waitematā Harbour.
Through the project we aim to link up predator control activities and groups along the coastline from Beach Haven to West Harbour including Greenhithe (including Schnapper Rock and Lucas heights), Paremoremo, Whenuapai, Riverhead, Coatesville, Herald Island and Hobsonville (including Scott Point and West Harbour).
By collaborating, sharing resources and sharing knowledge we will have a greater impact and achieve our goals in a shorter time than working independently. We will have a shared vision and strategic plan with clear goals and methods of monitoring success. We will collect, collate and analyse data collectively to measure progress.
We are also continuously looking for guidance from Manawhenua.
By creating a more predator free coastline we will have dealt with a major source of predator invasion and predator sanctuary.
This will improve the success of predator control activities further back from the coastline in parks, reserves and urban environments across the upper Waitematā Harbour.
By removing pest animals from the coastline, shell banks and tidal estuaries we will make the environment safer and more attractive for the return of larger numbers of coastal and migratory birds that once flourished in this habitat. These include moho pererū (NZ banded rail), pūweto (spotless crake), kōtare (kingfisher), NZ dotterel, tōrea (variable oystercatcher), turnstone, kuaka (godwit), white-faced heron, pied stilt, banded dotterel, caspian tern.
Why is this needed now?
In the last 5 years and planned over the next 5 years the Upper Harbour is experiencing massive urbanisation. This is impacting negatively on the coastal environment, water quality and bird life. New coastal walkways are being developed to give people more access to the coastline which helps to get people involved in monitoring, protection and restoration.
There have been pockets of successful predator control on accessible coastline such as Herald Island, while other areas have only recently started (eg. Hobsonville). However, there are large stretches of coastline where there is no predator control and this project will help identify those gaps and work to address them.
The project is therefore timely and it will utilise the power of networks and collaboration as more and more groups come together with a shared vision and a strong passion to make a difference in the Upper Waitematā Harbour.
This project has the potential to link with many other local projects and activities. These include education, both through schools and through media and signage reaching the wider public, recreation such as walkways/cycleways/kayaking around the harbour edge, water quality and mangrove protection.
Partnering with other environmental and non-environmental organisations will be vital both for the initial pest control programme and for taking the concept further in future years.
Our hope is that our partners will include iwi, university, schools, developers, Auckland Council, DoC, Local Boards, Auckland Harbour Board.
This project will link up areas of current activity and identify gaps.