Evaluation of the Hamilton City Council plants for Gullies programme
Clarkson, B.D., Clarkson, F.M., & Bryan, C.L. (2012). Evaluation of the Hamilton City Council plants for Gullies programme. ERI report 001. Hamilton, New Zealand: Environmental Research Institute, The University of Waikato.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/7863
This evaluation found that the Hamilton City Council Plants for Gullies programme is successfully facilitating the restoration and enhancement of Hamilton City gullies by private gully owners. The mean number of native species in surveyed gullies was 2.1 in non-restored sites and 18.4 in restored sites. While the mean number of invasive species was 4.1 in non-restored sites to 2.6 in restored sites. This quantitative measure is a valuable indication of the ecosystem gains for Hamilton City. Hamilton gully owners are very satisfied with the Plants for Gullies programme; the mean satisfaction rating was 8.9 out of 10. These residents dedicate significant time and energy to restoring their gully sections; the mean time contribution of survey participants was 10.3 hours per month. Gully owners were found to be utilising knowledge acquired through participation in the programme to add valuable diversity to their gully ecosystems. This was repeatedly demonstrated by programme participants not only reintroducing the native plants supplied by the programme but also adding large quantities of privately-sourced plants. This investigation found that the Plants for Gullies and Gully Restoration programmes are effective in communicating key ecological restoration concepts. This was reflected by gully owner prioritisation of eco-sourcing, biodiversity and weed control as considerations in their restoration projects. The Gully Restoration Guide was found to be the most valuable component of the programme’s educational tools. However, it is recommended that this resource is updated to support the many gully owners who require information for advanced stages of ecological restoration. In summary, the Plants for Gullies programme is successfully delivering gully restoration assistance and advice to gully owners, which is resulting in significant improvements to Hamilton City’s gully systems. The programme is valued by all who are involved and could be recommended to other New Zealand cities as an effective model for environmental restoration and community engagement.
Environmental Research Institute, The University of Waikato
© 2012 the authors.