Nelson Nature fortnightly nature fix.
Welcome to the Nelson Nature fortnightly nature fix - a regular snippet about Nelson's natural environment, and what we can do to look after it. If you know anyone who you think might enjoy getting a regular nature fix, please pass this on and encourage them to sign up.
The Glenduan Wetland
Today, 2 February, is World Wetland Day. Wetlands are distinct ecosystems, where the land is saturated with water and the flora and fauna they support are dependent on the presence of water.
Wetlands usually form where the water table is close to the surface of the land, or in areas where the land is regularly covered by water, such as on the margins of river estuaries and in tidal areas. These fragile, incredibly diverse ecosystems need our help to protect and restore them to full health.
Locally, Waimea Inlet was once fringed by wetlands through which many streams passed on their way to the sea. Mangarakau Swamp in Golden Bay is the largest remaining wetland in the area and one of the largest in the whole South Island. On a much smaller scale, you can visit the Glenduan Wetland, a reconstructed wetland which Council established in 2010 with help from local volunteers.
From an environmental point of view, wetlands are more biologically diverse than any other habitat, supporting a vast range of flora and fauna. They play a critical role in our environment, cleansing the water that flows through them, trapping sediment, filtering nitrates, and removing contaminants. In doing so, they also play a key role role in reducing flooding from storm surges and in helping humanity cope with extreme weather events.
In past years, wetland areas have been drained, causing environmental degradation. And whilst we now understand the environmental and human consequences of draining wetlands, our activity continues to have a major impact on them.
So how can you help? Find out more about World Wetlands Day here
Discover new Zealand's wetlands, and download resources on the DOC website
Visit the National Wetland Trust of New Zealand website for information on local wetlands and restoration practices.