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Creating and Planting the Fire Station Dune
The sand dune at the rear of Plimmerton Fire Station was eroded approximately 12 months ago in a severe storm. The original dune was man made using 44 gallon oil drums filled with sand and when the sand was eroded left the fire station car park concrete foundation exposed and also the remains of rusted oil drums. These rusty and sharp metal drums presented a dangerous hazard to beach users and were removed.
|Pipes and drums exposed after storm damage in 2010. Photo from PCC.|
After receiving advice from Greater Wellington Regional Council’s coastal expert, Dr Iain Dawe, a plan was developed to use sand dredged from Mana Marina to form a new dune. This sand would have normally gone to the landfill. The annual dredging commenced in late July and up to ten large truck loads were delivered to the Fire Station area and formed into a dune.
|Photo provided by PCC|
The sand will look dark to start with but exposure to sun will lighten and the sand will develop a golden colour over time.
|Porirua City Council’s Parks and Reserves Nursery prepared four varieties of sand binding plants:|
|Spinifex sericeus||Pingao golden sedge||Horokaka||Kokihi|
- Spinifex sericeus– the most important native sand binding grass in New Zealand, it can tolerate high winds, salt sprays and shifting sands.
- Pingao (Ficinia spiralis) golden sedge – a tussock like plant with extensive fine root system for binding sand and sourcing water. Originally wide spread on New Zealand dunes, this plant was replaced by pines and over grazed by stock. Now being reintroduced by extensive plantings.The leaves are bright green turning golden as they age. This variety will provide a nice contrast to the Spinifex.
- Horokaka (Disphyma australe) native ice plant – a low coastal creeping succulent tolerant of marine environment.
- Kokihi (Tetragonia tetragonioides) NZ Native Spinach – a low growing perennial ground cover tolerates dry coastal conditions.
On Saturday 4th August Tim, Beckee and Molly (PCC Reserves), Anita and Bronwyn (Northern Councillors) and twenty five Plimmerton residents arrived to plant the dunes. The photos show the changes as the team got into their work.
Good organisation, willing hands and soft sand meant that the task was completed quickly with time to talk and enjoy the barbeque.
Photo and story by Allan Dodson
It is anticipated that over the next 2 years until the grasses are established, certain tide and wind conditions may and will probably wash some of the sand away. We need to be prepared to resand and replant these areas as they occur.
|photo by PCC|
After all the activity the shore plovers were active along the new dune.