Catch­ment on stake­holder fo­rum agenda

South Waikato News - - RURAL -

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

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