Grass being left long on northern motorway verges to protect dotterels


The NZ Transport Agency is deliberately letting the grass grow long on sections of the Northern Motorway to help protect endangered dotterels in the area

Nesting dotterels

Several nesting dotterel pairs and chicks have made their homes in Albany and other sections of the Northern Motorway and work’s now underway to prevent them from moving in to areas that may become construction sites as part of the Northern Corridor Improvements project.

“The community’s efforts to respect dotterel nesting areas on the North Shore over many years has led to an increase in numbers being recorded by ecologists, and we don’t want these birds to be disturbed by construction activity,” says Carol Bannock, the Transport Agency’s Environmental Specialist.

“Ecologists tell us that dotterels prefer mown, short grass and construction sites, and experience has shown that keeping the grass long will help deter them from choosing to nest in the construction areas.”

“We appreciate the grass might look a bit unkempt as a result and hope people support us in doing all we can to protect these special birds.”

Residents and visitors can also help us to protect these sites by keeping off the long grass and sticking to the mown edge and walking paths, not littering and keeping your dog on its leash.

Ecologists will be on site every week between now and the end of summer to check for any signs of dotterels and will work with the Transport Agency to help protect any dotterels that are determined to nest in the area.

Construction of the Northern Corridor Improvements project is due to start in stages from next year, pending approvals at a Board of Inquiry hearing.