Free-range egg producer Stephanie Ellett of Stillwater is determined to regenerate the native bush alongside the stream that runs through her property.
This winter will see her put in 1000 native plants, funded by a grant from the Hibiscus & Bays Local Board’s Environmental Fund.
Stephanie has lived on the 2.8ha farm with her family for seven years and says that previous owners had allowed stock to graze along the banks of the stream. The cattle cleared much of the understorey, leaving just a canopy of tall manuka trees. Grazing also made the bank unstable in parts.
The Elletts goat, horse and 55 chickens are less of a threat to the native plants, but Stephanie has gone one step further, fencing off one side of the stream and replanting native trees and shrubs. So far she’s put in around 100 plants a year, creating little pockets of native bush, but this winter’s project is by far the biggest she has tackled.
The stream is a tributary of the Weiti River and flows into the river just south of Silverdale Village. The site is also part of the Northwest Wildlink – a wildlife corridor that provides birds with stop off points as they journey between Tiritiri Matangi and Ark in the Park in the Waitakere Ranges.
Stephanie used a $2000 Environmental Grant from the Hibiscus & Bays Local Board, plus some of her own funds, to purchase 1000 native plants and planting has begun. This means also clearing weeds, gorse and thick mats of honeysuckle.
Stephanie says her vision is that the stream, which rises to become more of a river after heavy rain, will flow through native bush.
“I think farmers are more and more aware of their responsibilities to care for the natural environment,” Stephanie says. “I have no doubt the hard work will be well worth it.”