Urban wetland protected forever

  • Otago Fresh Water
  • 13/11/2023

Urban wetland protected forever

The covenanting of the Bullock Creek Hatchery Springs wetland has been celebrated at a community gathering in Wānaka. 

A QEII National Trust open space covenant will forever protect the urban wetland, which is owned by Otago Fish & Game, in the heart of the resort town.

Otago Fish & Game chief executive Ian Hadland said the occasion marked the formal protection of a natural gem in the community and the collective effort to preserve its open space and ecological importance.

Pictured: Celebrating the covenanting of Bullock Creek Hatchery Springs wetland are (from left) Otago Fish & Game chief executive Ian Hadland, Department of Corrections senior community work supervisor Dave Madden, Friends of Bullock Creek president Ben Irving, and QEII National Trust regional representative for Central Otago Rob Wardle. 

“The covenant is a testament to the strong commitment of Fish & Game and our community to the preservation of urban wild spaces,” Mr Hadland said.

“As our towns and cities grow and expand, it becomes increasingly important to safeguard pockets of nature like the Bullock Creek Hatchery spring wetland.

“These spaces offer respite from the hustle and bustle of urban life, connecting us with the natural world and providing opportunities for relaxation, recreation, and reflection.”

Mr Hadland said Otago Fish & Game Council expressed its heartfelt gratitude to all who worked tirelessly to make the covenanting possible, as well as the dedicated volunteers who would continue to nurture the remarkable area.

“The covenanting of this wetland by Fish & Game would not have been possible without the unwavering dedication of the Friends of Bullock Creek and the Department of Corrections.

“Their relentless efforts in weed clearance, replanting, and ongoing support have been instrumental in transforming this site into a high-value community asset and no doubt contributed to the QEII National Trust’s decision to approve the open space covenant.”

Mr Hadland acknowledged the work of Paul van Klink and thanked the QEII National Trust for its support.

QEII National Trust regional representative for Central Otago Rob Wardle said he was highly supportive of the covenant proposal from the moment he was approached.

“Although small and urban, it protects springs in the headwaters of Bullock Creek, one of the few native vegetation remnants within the Wānaka town boundary, and extensive predominantly eco-sourced native plantings, wetlands, and seepages,” Mr Wardle said.

“In conjunction with Fish & Game, the site is managed by an active and effective community group who are adhering to a comprehensive weed control and planting plan.

“And the presence of board walks, tracks, picnic tables and interpretation add to the site’s appeal.”

Mr Wardle also noted the site’s recreational, historical and educational values, being an original fish hatchery, and its soil and water values.

Friends of Bullock Creek president Ben Irving said: "Friends of Bullock Creek Charitable Trust are grateful for our partnership with Otago Fish & Game Council and Ara Poutama Aotearoa/Department of Corrections.

“We're really proud that we can add the QEII covenant as another example of our shared success,” Mr Irving said. 

“Registering the wetlands with an open space QEII covenant supports our mandate to protect and enhance Bullock Creek. It's a lifeblood of Wānaka, a rare spring-fed creek of exceptional purity that flows through an urban environment into the lake.

“For towns facing the challenges of urbanisation and climate change, partnerships and projects like this create hope and set the standard for what else can be achieved."

The ceremony was held in the same week Fish & Game launched its national ReWild campaign encouraging New Zealanders to get involved in freshwater fishing and game bird hunting, connecting with nature and protecting the environment.

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