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State Of Our Environment Report Adopted

Council’s Sustainable Tairawhiti Committee today adopted its latest State of our Environment Report 2020, which includes environmental data, scientific analysis, and case studies of community initiatives.

Covering our land and soil, biodiversity and biosecurity, freshwater, coast and estuaries and air, climate and waste, the report provides an environmental overview of our region over the last five years.

“We are fortunate to live in a beautiful corner of the world which we all have a role in protecting and enhancing for our and future generations,” said Council’s environmental monitoring and science manager Tom Porter.

“The SOE report provides a broad examination of our important natural assets - our land, water, coast, air, biodiversity and climate - and helps identify where action is needed by Council and our community.”

Report highlights include:

  • Council is returning a significant portion of our largest forestry asset – Pamoa Forest – to native bush to enhance our region’s biodiversity and protect the Waingake drinking water pipeline. In addition to planting natives, the project involves extensive pest control and eradication measures. 
  • There has been 51% increase in the area consented for irrigation since 2016. There is now 7,120ha consented for irrigation, predominantly on the Poverty Bay Flats. Council’s Managed Aquifer Recharge Trial is investigating whether it’s possible to take water from the Waipaoa River in times of high flow to recharge the Makauri Aquifer. 
  • Water quality for summer swimming on our region’s beaches is excellent. All monitored beaches have been graded suitable for swimming, with between 97% and 100% of their samples graded in the “suitable for swimming” category. 
  • Air quality in Gisborne is generally good, with only one exceedance of the permissible level of the national environmental standard for PM10 (fine particles) in 2018 and 2019. 
  • There were 12 wet-weather overflows from the sewer systems into Gisborne city rivers in the five years up until May 2020. Council’s DrainWise project is working to reduce these occurrences. 
  • In partnership with Ngāti Oneone, Council’s four-year project is underway to restore Titirangi (Kaiti Hill). A key part of the project is to replace pine forests with natives, along with extensive weed control. Titirangi maunga is a significant regional reserve, a major landmark with deep historical, archeological, recreational and cultural importance. 
  • Average waste sent to landfill in our region is 506kg per person per year, against a national average of 701kg. Council supports a number of waste minimisation initiatives in line with its own efforts to raise awareness and reduce waste.

Council has a responsibility for providing a healthy environment for current and future generations, while supporting economic prosperity throughout Tairāwhiti.

Information gathered in the State of our Environment Report will help Council identify areas which need further investigation and work. Proposed actions will be detailed in Council’s Long Term Plan.

The full report can be viewed here.

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