Waimea Inlet Forum (WIF) has been running a planting project, working with local communities, to restore the habitat and trap predators in the Waimea Inlet in an effort to increase the number of Banded Rail and other estuarine birds.
The Banded Rail, (moho pereru, Gallirallus phillippensis assimillis) has been classed by Department of Conservation as ‘at risk/declining’. Once commonly seen in the Waimea Inlet, the only areas in the South Island where these shy and secretive birds can be found are in Nelson and Marlborough. Over the years the Banded Rail’s habitat has been lost due to horticulture and housing development, and the modification of estuary margins with road and cycle track development.
Kathryn Brownlie, WIF member and project manager for Battle of the Banded Rail, says that the forum hopes to restore vegetation and control of pests so there will be an increase in bird numbers. Around 25 – 30 volunteers have been helping on planting days that were planned for every Sunday over the course of a couple of months, with around 6,500 salt-hardy plants (mainly Grey Salt Bush and Salt Marsh Ribbonwood) to be placed. This is the fourth season the project has been run, and over 20,000 plants have been placed so far. For the past 3 years Salisbury School has been helping to propagate and pot up the plants specifically for this project.
Carolyn Shirtliff, Enviro Coordinator for Salisbury School, says, “Salisbury School has enjoyed propagating plants for the Banded Rail Project. It has created a great opportunity for us to give back to the community that has been very supportive of our school. The work gives our students the skills that they may be able to use when they return to their own communities, either in, perhaps, work experience in a nursery or a volunteer role in a similar project. Some of our students need physical tasks and enjoy the more practical aspects of potting up or growing plants. The fact that we were able to propagate many Grey Saltbush for the Banded Rail project from our own two plants in our lizard garden was especially pleasing and we look forward to continuing with this work.”
For more information on how you can help, contact Kathryn Brownlie at bandedrail@gmail.com or call 544 4537.

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