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Support to help rural landowners protect lakes

MEDIA RELEASE

More support to help rural landowners protect lakes

Tuesday 5 December 2006

Rotorua’s rural landowners will be getting more support from their peers to meet new nutrient targets.

The Rotorua Lakes Strategy Group has agreed to set up an advisory board to help farmers and others find ways to reduce nutrient losses. The idea was suggested to the group by farmers, industry groups, and local authority staff.

Land activities like farming often produce too much nitrogen and phosphorus. The excess can then enter waterways, causing water quality problems. Because of this, Environment Bay of Plenty has introduced rules to stop any increases in nutrient losses within lake catchments.

Rotorua lakes project coordinator, Paul Dell, says the new Sustainable Land Use Implementation Board will have an important role. It will be an intermediary between landowners and the lakes strategy group, he explains. Its tasks will include researching the best methods for nutrient management and promoting these systems to landowners.

It will liaise with landowners, listen to them, and work with them to meet the new targets for land use set in the lake Action Plans.

The board’s work will include:

- Ways to trim down land use nutrient loss and timeframes to put these into practice.
- Studying relevant research and how it applies to everyday land use.
- Recommendations for land use change, including incentives to make these changes.
- Communicating with a wide range of landowners to hear their views and tell them about new ways they can reduce their nutrient loss.
- Give advice on rule changes in District and Regional Plans.
- Promoting systems that landowners can use to cut back their nutrient loss.

The board will be semi-independent but will report to the Rotorua Lakes Strategy Group, which oversees the Rotorua Lakes Protection and Restoration Action Programme. Environment Bay of Plenty, Rotorua District Council, central government and primary industries will all service the board but will not control its direction.

ENDS

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