Stu Muir is a dairy farmer who, together with his wife Kim, has permanently retired 40 hectares of his farm to help restore the local Waikato River delta.
Historically the river delta was a major whitebait spawning area, but flood gating and drainage of the tidal creeks has meant their ecological habitat has been destroyed. Stu has restored 4 km of tidal streams. In addition to the task of eradicating pests and trees smothering the waterways, he has replanted tens of thousands of native trees. He has restored a rare dune lake on the property, reintroducing more than 8500 natives.
Stu actively manages pests, and he’s also started a pest management programme across all islands in the Waikato River delta, managing 1200 whitebait stations. His enthusiasm and leadership has galvanised the wider community.
The whitebait have returned, along with freshwater mussels, crayfish, eels and mullet. Native bats, fern birds, and native plants once again populate the landscape. Stu is currently building an extensive boardwalk to enable public access so people can better connect, learn and be inspired by the restoration.