Waikawau Bay wetland is a rare gem – an accessible intact wetland and estuarine system teeming with wildlife at the end of a stretch of white sandy beach. It is here, at the top of the Coromandel, that Moehau Environment Group are working to protect threatened birds and invertebrates.
The Waikawau Bay Wetland Project is a great example of what can be achieved by a small group of committed volunteers. The Project covers 75ha of private land and involves 90 bait stations and 250 rat traps. Moehau Environment Group conducts a fortnightly trapping regime for rodents, a three monthly monitoring programme to check effectiveness, and annual surveys to assess bird and invertebrate populations.
The projects success is clear by the increase in many rare wetland bird species within the area of predator control. Populations of fernbirds, banded rail, spotless crake, pateke (NZ brown teal), bittern, NZ dotterel and variable oystercatcher are all either up or stable in the wetlands. There are now over 110 fernbirds in the wetlands. Bittern (which are extremely rare) are also breeding within the wetland.
A huge ammount of research has been undertaken since this project began. Below are a selection of reports which detail what lives here, the impact of rodents and changes over time.