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Ecological study of Hickford Park and coastal walkway route options

An ecological study of Hickford Park, (New Plymouth) was conducted by the Environmental Research Institute, University of Waikato, for the New Plymouth District Council. The main ecological features of the park were mapped and described and recommendations were made for the future management of the site. Hickford Park encompasses significant wetland habitat (Waipu Lagoons and oxidation ponds), sections of planted native species, an extensive duneland system, exotic plantation forest, grazed pasture, sports playing fields and the recently completed Taranaki Velodrome. The Waipu Lagoons represent a rare coastal lagoon ecosystem type in Taranaki, and host a diverse range of native wetland flora and fauna. The acclaimed coastal walkway currently extends half way through Hickford Park to St Andrews Drive. The environmental impacts of several proposed routes for the extension of the coastal walkway through the remainder of the park to Bell Block beach were assessed and recommendations made for the preferred route from an ecological perspective. In summary: • Indigenous vegetation and habitats of indigenous fauna should not be disturbed if an alternative option is available. Possible ecological impacts of the walkway development may include removal of native vegetation, impact on dune system, alteration to land contours and slope, soil disturbance and sediment input to waterways. • Construction of the coastal walkway along the originally proposed route option (1.1) would require both vegetation removal and re-contouring and would result in a decrease or degradation of natural dune habitat. • Route option 1.2 appears to be the most feasible option, as the Waitara sewer line has previously been installed in the same location and no vegetation removal would be required. • Route options 1.2, 1.3 and the proposed walkway links, provide an opportunity to enhance the public’s appreciation of the ecology within Hickford Park. • In all cases, the ecological effects of the preferred walkway route should be offset via enhancement and restoration plantings.
Commissioned Report for External Body
Type of thesis
ERI report
Bylsma, R. J., & Efford, J. T. (2012). Ecological study of Hickford Park and coastal walkway route options. ERI report number 005. Hamilton, New Zealand: Environmental Research Institute, The University of Waikato.
Environmental Research Institute, The University of Waikato
© 2012 the authors.