Keeping the harbour healthy

David Peters (left) and Laurie Donald from the Parore Project have entered the initiative in the Balance Farm Environment Awards. Also pictured is Landcare Trust BFEA Judge Tereni Ratima. Photo: Supplied

An estuary management group near Katikati is an entrant in this year’s Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA).

The Catchment Group Award is supported by a new partnership between the NZ Farm Environment Trust and NZ Landcare Trust and is designed to showcase and celebrate the great work being done by catchment groups throughout the country.

“We are pleased to introduce this new Catchment Group award that recognises the efforts of a rural community working together to improve water quality in local rivers, streams, lakes and wetlands,” says NZ Farm Environment Trust Chair Joanne van Polanen.

“This new initiative has been well supported throughout the country with catchment groups from north to south participating in this year’s awards programme. It is great to be able to share the great work they are doing and inspire others.”

The Catchment Group Awards winners will be announced at the upcoming regional Ballance

Farm Environment Awards functions in June and July.

Uretara Estuary Managers Inc’s Project Parore is one of three groups in the Bay of Plenty and East Coast region to enter the award.

What began in 1999 as a group of concerned community members looking to improve the health of the estuary and environs near Katikati has expanded to include all nine stream catchments that enter the northern Tauranga Harbour.

The catchment group’s main objectives include conservation activities, supporting local recreational opportunities and enhancing indigenous biodiversity.

To date, they have catchment plans in place with 25 properties within the Te Mania Stream catchment and a further 12 plans for the larger properties within the other catchment areas.

A founding member of the Bay Conservation Alliance, Project Parore has implemented of catchment management plans and has undertaken work to assess the health of the estuary and waterways.

Members have also carried out remediation to fish passages in the local streams, planted many kilometres of riparian planting in partnership with landowners and assisted with the development of five hectares of new wetlands.

Endangered species identified throughout the catchment includes long-tailed bats and rifleman.

The catchment group entered the Ballance Farm Environment Awards to share good news stories with the public and farmers and to show that profitable farms, good land management, and environmental protection are not mutually exclusive.

Tukipo Catchment Care Group in Hawkes Bay and Mōtū River Catchment Group – Gisborne are the other entrants from the BOP – East Coast region.

Tukipo Catchment Care Group

Initially formed in 2018 by local farmer Rob Barry, farmers and landowners have taken the

opportunity to work collaboratively in the Tukipo Catchment Care Group (TCCG), the first of

17 sub-catchments in the Tukituki with a community led sub-catchment group.

At present 90 per cent of the landowners across the Tukipo sub-catchment are involved in the catchment group. This includes a diverse range of farming and growing operations including sheep, beef, deer, dairy, poultry, viticulture and arable.

The group’s vision statement is “Enhancing the Environment – Thriving Community”, and they advocate for their environment and community. They aim to be leaders in sustainable farming practices, improve water quality, increase biodiversity and coordinate pest and weed control.

Some of their achievements include the construction of a large scale wetland being used to monitor the impacts on nutrient reduction, water quality and biodiversity enhancement projects, riparian planting, pest control and further wetland construction.

In addition the group has held a series of well-attended workshops, organised hunting competitions for pest control and established a nursery using locally sourced seed.

The catchment group entered the Ballance Farm Environment Awards to lift their public profile, get feedback to inform their next steps and help determine other opportunities to help support farmers to continue their great work improving their environmental footprint. They are also looking forward to meeting other catchment groups and learning from their experiences.

Mōtū River Catchment Group – Gisborne

Established in 2018, this catchment group has grown from a small group of proactive and passionate farmers to a thriving group now incorporating 23 properties.

Their vision is that the Mōtū River catchment supports the recreational and economic aspirations of the community and is a treasure/ taonga that all can enjoy. New members are regularly joining the catchment group which covers 14,441ha, as they see what the group is achieving.

Mōtū River Catchment Group see their biggest achievements as having erosion control plans and farm environment plans for almost all properties.

Additionally the group has regularly surveyed water quality, held field days with the wider community and planted more than 100,0000 plants and installed 30km of waterway fencing.

They entered the Ballance Farm Environment Awards to recognise the fantastic work being done by this group of passionate farmers and to raise the profile of their work in the hope of providing inspiration and ideas for other catchment groups.

Their future activities include further work on riverbank erosion, securing funding for predator control traps, and the possible opportunity to create a native fish nursery to enhance the population of native fish species.


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