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Minister in town to discuss Manawatu River Accord

MEDIA RELEASE
Horizons Regional Council

Friday 16 August, 2013

Minister in town to discuss Manawatu River Accord

Environment Minister Amy Adams spent time yesterday with local government representatives to discuss the progress made with the Manawatu River Leaders’ Accord, in particular actions taken due to the $5.2 million from Central Government’s Fresh Start for Fresh Water Clean-Up Fund.

The Manawatu River Leaders’ Accord came about in 2010 when Horizons Regional Council invited community, industry and iwi leaders to come together and take ownership of the river and its challenges.

Six months on from that meeting, the leaders signed a promise to take action which set out a clear focus, vision and goals to improve the state of the Manawatu River.

Horizons Chairman Bruce Gordon, alongside council staff outlined the eight key projects selected for support under the Clean-Up Fund and the positive impact these projects were already having on the water quality of the Manawatu River. Projects range from the upgrading of wastewater treatment plants by Manawatu, Tararua and Horowhenua District Councils through to native fish and whitebait habitat restoration in sub-catchments of the river.

The group also discussed the increased level of community involvement through the creation of a grants scheme for 15 community projects. A number of these projects have been led by iwi and include the Parahaki Island cleanup in the Manawatu Gorge and the development of an Oroua River catchment care group, with the vision of improving and maintaining the catchment’s natural heritage.

“To meet with the Minister was a great opportunity to outline first hand all that has been achieved to date and the work yet to come,” said Mr Gordon.

“The Fresh Start for Fresh Water Clean-Up Fund has been essential in making it happen, enabling the Leaders’ Forum to accelerate enhancement efforts and enable community involvement in restoration activities.”

“It was also an opportunity to discuss the nutrient management plans under the Proposed One Plan and we felt the Minister was understanding of the process”.

Some of the key Manawatu River Leaders’ Accord project achievements to date include:

• Under Horizons’ Sustainable Land Use Initiative (SLUI), 133 farms representing 15% of the Manawatu Catchment have completed the Whole Farm Plan process. This has generated over 2,000 hectares of erosion control works, including more than 88,000 trees being planted.

• Horizons in the last year has also worked with land owners to complete over 85 kilometres of stream fencing and planted more than 49,000 plants.

• The Accord is playing a key role in resolving outstanding consents to discharge to waterways in the catchment. There are no longer any discharges of dairy shed effluent to water in the catchment and three territorial authorities are looking at options for land-based treatment of effluent during low river flows.

• Compliance among dairy farmers is also on the rise, with a record 93 per cent compliance last season.

Ends

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