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Westport’s Floating Basin gets a biodiversity boost

27 Sep 2023

Native species are the big winners in a recent decision by Buller District Council to declare most of the Floating Basin estuary no longer suitable to lease for grazing purposes.  

Removing grazing animals from the area means new native plantings can be established, which will help create a healthy, thriving lowland forest and estuary ecosystem to support the native fish and bird populations. 

Dense plantings also create a ‘soft buffer’ that better absorbs flood water and captures flood debris, helping protect the town. 

This project has been made possible through a joint effort involving Cleans Streams Karamea, the Kawatiri Nature Environment and Community Trust (KNECT) and the Kotahitanga mō te Taiao Alliance (KMTT) Restoring and Protecting Flora Project.  

Sacha Healey, project lead says: “It’s been amazing to be part of this collaborative effort and see Buller District Council’s environmental leadership in retiring this land, which is managed by the Westport Harbour. Due to how low-lying the land is, it’s very marginal for grazing horses, so it makes sense to plant it up for native species instead.” 

The planting project has been funded by Trees that Count with $11,534 ex. GST received, and $7,500 ex. GST from council’s Community-Led Revitalisation Fund. The KMTT Flora Project has completed 160 hours of weed control around the estuary. 

Ms Healey says: “We are holding a fun, family-friendly community planting day this Sunday 1 October, between 10am – 2pm. Members of the public are invited to join in and help put hundreds of native plants in the ground to give the area a kick start on its journey to native forest.” 

Plant guards and spades will be provided; please bring your friends, family and drinking water. The event will wrap up with a BBQ lunch for volunteers. 

If you are driving, park at Shingles Beach or the Yacht Club carpark and follow the balloons to the planting site.  

If the weather is unsuitable, the planting day will be postponed to Saturday 7 October. Please keep an eye on the ‘Westport Community – it's not good, its great!’ Facebook page for updates. 

Ms Healey says: “We encourage people to come along and help future Westport become known for its subtropical estuarine forests within walking distance of town!” 


For further information please contact: 
Community Engagement and Operational Liaison, Kotahitanga mō te Taiao Alliance 
Sacha Healey