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Fonterra and DOC working together on World Wetlands Day

4 February 2015

Fonterra and DOC working together on World Wetlands Day

With World Wetlands Day marked this week (February 2), Fonterra and the Department of Conservation (DOC) are continuing their work to improve the health of five key catchments across New Zealand, through their Living Water partnership.

Living Water contributes to the conservation of wetlands through a ten year programme of work to improve water quality and the variety and abundance of native wildlife at the selected catchments located in major dairying regions.

The Living Water catchments are Hikurangi in Northland, three Waikato peat lakes - Areare, Ruatuna and Rotomānuka, Miranda/Pūkorokoro on the Firth of Thames/ Tīkapa Moana, Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere in Canterbury and Waituna in Southland.

Two of the Living Water catchments are recognised by a Wetlands Convention - signed at Ramsar in Iran - as being internationally significant. These are Miranda /Pūkorokoro on the Firth of Thames and Waituna in Southland.

World Wetlands Day marks the signing of the Wetlands Convention at Ramsar in 1971. This is the only global environmental treaty covering a particular ecosystem. New Zealand is one of 168 countries that have signed the convention.

Fonterra Director of Sustainability and Services, Carly Robinson says “Our focus has been working with farmers, iwi, community groups and scientists to ensure we’re working on the right things and applying robust science and monitoring.

“We’ve identified priorities and now the work we’re doing will create and enhance habitat for native wildlife and improve water quality by planting native trees and plants, improving drainage, demonstrating how to construct wetlands on and off-farms, conducting native species studies and monitoring improvements.”

DOC Commercial Partnerships Director Geoff Ensor says “Wetlands play a significant role in the storage and purification of water, providing a home for native wildlife and plants and helping reduce flooding and soil erosion. World Wetlands Day is a chance to reflect on the benefits wetlands provide and highlights the need to work together to conserve and sustain these areas.”

Wetlands worldwide are important ecosystems. The Living Water partnership focuses on protecting and enhancing remaining wetland habitats in these catchments, working to improve the health of the catchments and improving sustainable farming practices.

Work underway and launching in the coming months includes:

Hikurangi – continued riparian planting, workshops on wetlands construction and the release of a Living Water funded study into biodiversity restoration opportunities including research into the black mudfish, a rare native species and an important indicator of the health of wetlands.
Miranda and the Waikato Peat Lakes – community open days, habitat restoration projects, pest plant removal, and pest fish management investigations.
Te Waihora / Lake Ellesmere – enhancement opportunities on both private and public land and working with the Lincoln township and rural community on a community-wide restoration of a single river and drainage catchment.
Waituna – a Living Water funded study into the habitat of tuna (eel) to provide valuable insight into how improvements to eel habitats correspond to improved wetland water quality. Focusing on assisting farmers to protect and enhance remaining areas of wetland.

More about how Living Water is marking World Wetlands Day and the importance of wetlands can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/Fonterra

About the Fonterra DOC Living Water programme
Under the Living Water partnership DOC and Fonterra, along with local communities, iwi and farmers are working together to improve the health of five catchments. Work includes planting native trees alongside streams and rivers to improve water quality, managing animal pests and weeds and making sure the right habitats are in place around farms to enhance biodiversity and provide homes for native fish and birds.

About Fonterra
Fonterra is a global leader in dairy nutrition – the preferred supplier of dairy ingredients to many of the world’s leading food companies. Fonterra is also a market leader with our own consumer dairy brands in Australia/New Zealand, Asia/Africa, Middle East and Latin America.

The farmer-owned New Zealand co-operative is the largest processor of milk in the world, producing more than two million tonnes of dairy ingredients, value added dairy ingredients, specialty ingredients and consumer products every year. Drawing on generations of dairy expertise, Fonterra is one of the largest investors in dairy based research and innovation in the world. Our more than 16,000 staff work across the dairy spectrum from advising farmers on sustainable farming and milk production, to ensuring we live up to exacting quality standards and delivering every day on our customer promise in more than 100 markets around the world.

ENDS

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