Catchment on stakeholder forum agenda
The Kaimai Catchments Project aimed at protecting the catchments which flow into the Waihou River and Tauranga Harbour is holding a stakeholder forum and a farmer workshop this month.
The Kaimai project is managed by the NZ Landcare Trust and involves the Department of Conservation, the Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Environment Waikato.
A stakeholder forum is to be held at Putaruru on Monday. A similar forum was held in Tauranga in July.
It would focus on information sharing and would include a field trip to a local farm to examine and discuss water quality and nutrient management issues relevant to the Kaimai Catchments Project.
Kate Akers, who is managing the project on behalf of the NZ Landcare Trust, said the earlier forum was a very useful exercise.
‘‘July’s forum was attended by a really diverse group of representatives. Within a positive atmosphere and with a willingness to cooperate.
‘‘Members discussed the purposes for the forum, which included providing collaborative inspiration and leadership to the community, recognising the Kaimai-Mamaku region as a whole and integrated unit, connected from the mountaintops to the sea.
‘‘Forum members also identified their need to prioritise the issues and concerns they have for the KaimaiMamaku region, taking into consideration the information provided in the recently commissioned report on the state of the environment for the catchments of the Kaimai range and northern Mamaku Plateau.
‘‘The group sought to identify and describe what they as a forum could do to achieve better outcomes for the catchments.
‘‘With such a wide range of issues to consider, the group may decide to form working groups which could focus in on two or three priority issues and to use their collective weight to advocate for action.’’
The forum will be followed by a workshop for farmers on December 15 at the property of EW councillor and farmer Norm Barker.
Nutrients and sediment from land in the Kaimai Ranges disperse into the Waihou River and Tauranga harbour and these water bodies are a key focus for protection.
The workshop would look at whole farm planning, including issues facing farmers such as profitability, viability and resource risks.
The workshop will encourage open discussion on the challenges ahead and present some of the latest relevant scientific knowledge. The farm walk will include work stations looking at soil health, riparian management and a dairy effluent/maize silage project.
EW’s biosecurity and heritage group manager John Simmons said spreading such knowledge was a useful way of protecting water quality from the impacts of agriculture.
‘‘We are collaborating with the agricultural sector on getting good information out to farmers on ways of helping them to better protect the environment.
‘‘Many farmers are already doing a great job and we want to try to ensure all of them have the knowledge to make a real difference.’’
– Kate Akers