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Wairarapa Farmers Working Together for the Next Generation

19 October 2017

Wairarapa Farmers Working Together for the Next Generation

Farmer David Blackwood is working with Greater Wellington Regional Council to protect Wairarapa’s waterways and wetlands.

A fifth generation farmer, Mr Blackwood lives beside the Kourarau dam in the Wairarapa.

Last year, the regional council as part of its proposed Natural Resources Plan identified approximately 920 sites in the Wellington region with significant values including ecological and cultural values. The Koururau Stream and wetland was identified as having significant mana whenua values including wahi tipuna and wai ora and became eligible to achieve stock exclusion.

“We’re mainly a sheep and beef breeding and fattening operation here and the only practical way of [excluding stock] was fencing it off.”

Mr Blackwood came together with local iwi, Trust House, Fish & Game, neighbours, the local fly fishing club and the regional council to agree how to look after the significant site.

“It’s not just this farm…but it’s [also] the other farms upstream…so the whole catchment area here got together and looked at ways of improving the water quality. We all want the same outcome, and that is for the best possible water quality.”

Mr Blackwood also got the local Gladstone School involved for a learning experience for the children to help plant the water edge.

“Most of these kids that were involved with it, quite a lot of them are from around this area, so that they can see that it’s benefiting them, and it was a great learning experience for them, but it’s going to benefit them and their children in generations to come.

“The really good thing about it is that we know we’re doing what we can to improve the quality of the water and the quality of the whole experience for people who are using the dam.”

Greater Wellington has set aside over $1m to subsidise fencing and planting schemes like this alongside the region’s most important waterways and wetlands. This work to exclude stock is required to comply with future regulations, including the rules set out in the proposed Natural Resources Plan for the Wellington region.

“We encourage eligible landowners to make use of the funding sooner rather than later, as funding will be allocated on a first come first served basis,” says Greater Wellington Healthy Waterways Project Manager Caroline Watson.

If you are a landowner and want to find out if you qualify for funding, visit our website or ring Petra on 0221722500 Mobile .



QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS FOR REPORTERS
How much is available in funding?
More than $1m is available in a fund for Category 1 and 2 waterways and wetlands. The provision of funding to landowners under this programme is on a first-come first served basis.
What is the proposed Natural Resource Plan?
The proposed Natural Resources Plan brings together five separate plans for fresh and coastal water, air and soil, and how we regulate discharges on land. It is expected to become operative in late 2018. Now is the time to prepare your farm business.
The plan will provide a minimum standard for water quality and quantity to improve our region’s water, while ensuring we provide an environment for economic growth.
More information on the proposed Natural Resources Plan can be found here.
Why is the Natural Resource Plan being proposed?
All regions must now set limits on water quality and quantity, it’s a central government requirement of the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPS-FM).
The plan looks at what we do on land, in the air and water and how it can have a widespread and long-lasting impact throughout the whole environment.
Because of the NPS-FM, the plan focuses particularly on the water quality in our rivers, lakes and coastal waters.
The plan provides more certainty for users of our natural resources so they can confidently invest in technologies and practices to limit discharges and more efficiently use what nature provides.
The plan is based on extensive research. It incorporates community values and other factors, and in doing so aims to reduce the need for expensive and time consuming resource consent hearings.
How will you be working with landowners to help them follow the new regulations?
Riparian
Together with industry, we will support land owners by:
• providing research, advice and promoting good management practices, developed in partnership with landowners and rural industries
• helping all landowners with Category 1 and 2 sites
• developing, and assisting with riparian management plans, or wider farm environment plans across a number of priority catchments, including:
- riparian planting, and erosion and sediment control for 50% of farms in the Taueru River, Kopuaranga River and Huangarua River catchments by 2025
- riparian planting, nutrient and erosion and sediment control for 50% of properties in the Mangatarere River and Taratahi/Parkvale stream catchments by 2025 and Lake Wairarapa and Whareama River estuary catchments by 2023
• providing high quality, eco-sourced plants through the Akura Conservation Centre for erosion control and riparian and wetland management.
Wetland
We will be working with landowners to support them in many ways, including: (taken from Wetland plan)
• provide guidance to landowners with wetlands on their property to assist with the management of those wetlands
• develop and implement Restoration Management Plans for landowners with outstanding wetlands and significant wetlands as required
• provide incentives to landowners, such as assistance with the costs of riparian and wetland fencing, planting and pest control
• encourage and assist with the legal protection of wetlands through covenanting with the QEII National Trust, the Department of Conservation and Ngā Whenua Rahui.
How much will the regulations cost landowners?
The amount will vary depending on each landowner and their assets, and the work they are doing. GWRC is providing funding to individual landowners to assist them make the changes to comply with regulation.
How much is available in funding?
Over $1m. The provision of funding to landowners under this programme is on a first-come first served basis.
How much funding is available to each landowner?
The amount will vary depending on each landowner, their land and assets - whether they have Category 1 or 2 waterways or significant wetlands - and the work they are doing. The provision of funding to landowners under this programme is on a first-come first served basis. Please contact your Land Management Advisor if you have any questions or would like more information.
Riparian work
GWRC will split the material and labour costs equally with landowners when they are fencing to prevent stock access. GWRC will pay 50% of agreed total cost for pest plant control. GWRC will provide 30% of funding of agreed costs for plants and associated material when landowners are planting riparian margins. Traps and bait stations will be available for landowners to purchase at cost price from GWRC. This can all be costed and agreed through theRiparian Planner
Wetland work
GWRC will split the material and labour costs equally with landowners when they are fencing to prevent stock access. They will pay up to 100% of the total cost (maximum $5,000 per year for three years) for pest plant control. GWRC will paying up to $500 per year for three years to cover the costs of plants and associated materials when planting eco-sourced native planets. Traps and bait stations will be available for landowners to purchase at cost price from GWRC.
When will funding no longer be available?
Funding is on a first-come first served basis.

ends

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