“Working together for healthy streams and strong communities”
Thomas Consultants has been proud to be involved with involved in one of Auckland’s flag ship environmental programmes, Project Twin Streams (PTS).
We were privileged to be part of the PTS journey since it’s initiation by the former Waitakere City Council in 2003, through until the end of 2014. It was a wonderful 12 years, during which we both learned, and contributed a great deal.
Project Twin Streams is a large-scale environmental restoration project that has been working to improve water quality in Waitakere streams and ultimately the Waitemata Harbour. To achieve this goal low-lying, flood-prone properties within the flood plain were purchased and removed to make way for the establishment of re-vegetated riparian margin along 56 kms of stream banks. Nearly 800,000 trees have been planted to date and these new trees will help to stabilise the banks from erosion, filter pollutants entering the streams and create a cool, shaded environment for fish and other stream life to thrive.
In the early days of PTS our property team was heavily involved in negotiations for the purchase of properties within the flood plain. The sensitive and professional approach of our team resulted in successful negotiations throughout the catchment. Our ecology team were also responsible for the creation of planting plans for all 56 kms of riparian margin and for gaining the necessary resource consents to begin weed control works.
Thomas Consultants provided trained and experienced ecologist as Riparian Coordinators from the beginning of PTS. These a Riparian Coordinators were heavily involved in overseeing the physical works, from the start of weed control work through to the maintenance of established riparian margins. We provided technical advice regarding ecological restoration, riparian planting and invasive weed eradication to community organisations and contractors to ensure weed control and planting plans were interpreted and implemented appropriately.
Our responsibilities also included coordinating plant orders for community planting events and overseeing the weeding and physical works programmes of both community organisations and contractors. We worked hard to ensure that ecological goals were met and maintained and that the plantings were able to thrive. It was a real thrill to watch as the plants grow and establish into healthy young native communities, rich with native animal life and to see the start of the natural regeneration of native species.
As well as being an ecological restoration project, at the heart of PTS is an approach that puts local people at the centre of thinking and action. The project recognises that it is not possible to repair and restore natural waterways without working with the people and communities that live within the catchment. Our Riparian Coordinators worked alongside community organisations to help deliver aspects of the project that the community can participate in. Between January and August 2014 our Riparian Coordinator also took on the additional responsibility of being the Community Coordinator for PTS. As Community Coordinator she worked with four community organisations to assist them in meeting their community engagement and reporting objectives. The community focus of PTS has fostered a greater awareness and ownership of the projects goals within these local communities.
It was wonderful to see how this kind of engagement has allowed the vision for the project to expand, encapsulating how households can have a more positive effect on the environment, how active modes of transport such as walking and cycling could both increase environmental and personal health, and how connecting people to the natural world around them can have profound person and ecological benefits.
Project Twin Streams is a local project with regional benefits and we are proud to have been a part of it.