Extra Help for Streamside Planting
Taranaki Regional Council media release
3 April 2008
For immediate release
EXTRA HELP FOR STREAMSIDE PLANTING
A new scheme designed to make it easier for farmers to get their streambanks planted is about to be trialed in Taranaki.
The Taranaki Regional Council is offering to organise contractors to do the work in blocks of 5,000 to 25,000 plants encompassing a number of farms.
The service will be available to farmers with Riparian Management Plans for their properties. The plans, covering the fencing and planting of waterways, are drawn up at no cost by the Council, which then supplies the plants at cost.
“Good riparian management is essential for protecting and enhancing freshwater quality and we believe farmers should see valuable potential in this new contracting scheme,” says the Council’s Land Services Manager, Don Shearman.
“Farmers have indicated to us, in surveys and informal feedback, that lack of time is one of the major barriers they face in completing their riparian management plans. With this contracting service, we can save them a lot of hassle. And the cost of the contractors is offset by the money saved by the plants being supplied at cost.”
Mr Shearman says the contractors will carry out pre-plant spot spraying, planting and release spray through application of a residual herbicide at the time of planting. Contractors who win tenders will be subject to a quality-control process to ensure their work is of acceptable standard.
Tenders for contractors are being called this week and close on April 18, by which time farmers will need to indicate whether they want to take advantage of the service. The spot spraying will take place in May and the planting in June and July.
Farmers will pay contractors directly, rather than having the Council as a middle-man.
“As well as lifting a burden off farmers, this scheme will offer contractors scale and certainty of work, so there are benefits all around,” says Mr Shearman. “Each tender block will encompass a variety of physical conditions so contractors have the scope to be flexible and time their work around the weather or what may be happening on an individual farm.”
Riparian management is a key part of the Taranaki Regional Action Plan drawn up under the Dairying and Clean Streams Accord. Effective riparian buffers enhance water quality by filtering agricultural run-off, and reducing the speed of run-off, which moderates stream flows, reduces flooding and increases baseline flows.
Riparian buffers also provide food and shelter for wildlife and corridors for plants and birds. Streamside vegetation also reduces water temperatures and supplies food for aquatic insects that in turn provide food for fish.
Farmers are encouraged to get their plant orders in as soon as possible. Orders over 300 plants received by 1 May will go into a major prize draw sponsored by Fonterra.
Land owners interested in any aspect of riparian management can call the Taranaki Regional Council on 0800 736 222 and ask to speak to a Land Management Officer.