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Council + Community + Farmers = Better Lake Rotorua

4 October 2012

Council + Community + Farmers = Better Lake Rotorua

Federated Farmers Rotorua-Taupo is applauding the work of farmers and the wider community, which has seen Lake Rotorua improve beyond the target set by Bay of Plenty Regional Council in its regional water and land plan.

“We are not going to take all of the credit here because farming was never the entire problem. It is however a triumph for the whole community,” says Neil Heather, Federated Farmers Rotorua-Taupo provincial president.

“The latest water testing of Lake Rotorua shows the Trophic Level Index (TLI), which measures the amount of nutrients in the lake, has fallen to 4.1. This means Lake Rotorua has average water quality but in the time it has taken, average, is in fact, excellent.

“We started out with a lake that had poor water quality so we are trending in the right direction. The lake is now below the 4.2 target the regional council had set for it.

“The regional council’s original modelling said things were going to get worse before they got better. That’s the concern I have for other areas going down this track. Despite what the model said we knew things were improving but farmers still caught flack in the media.

“As part of the learnings, we now know gorse leaches some 50 kilograms of nitrogen per hectare and that is more than a dairy farm. Even pine plantations generate four kilograms per hectare each year and these show how varied the effects on water can be.

“It is why we must celebrate what the community, council and farmers have achieved together. This is not down to one good year, but is part of an improving trend since we are all doing things better.

“There’s the land based treatment of the District’s human and industrial sewage as well as farmers fencing off stock and capturing nutrients, later recycled as liquid fertiliser.

“Being a Rotorua farmer, I am really proud of my community and we should all take a bow, town and country together.

“I also hope the finger pointing and blame game is close to an end because farmers want to work closer with the regional council. Yet the regional council needs to become less sniffy and celebrate some genuine success,” Mr Heather concluded.


ends

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