Dannevirke: Conservationists take stock

By Christine McKay

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Planting to protect the environment at the source of the Manawatu River in Norsewood was one of the first projects carried out under the Fresh Start for Freshwater Clean-Up Fund. Photo / Christine McKay
Planting to protect the environment at the source of the Manawatu River in Norsewood was one of the first projects carried out under the Fresh Start for Freshwater Clean-Up Fund. Photo / Christine McKay

The Manawatu River Leaders' Accord is celebrating work achieved under a $5.2 million central government fund which wrapped up earlier this year.

In August 2012, the Fresh Start for Freshwater Clean-Up Fund provided for a comprehensive work programme designed to complement or accelerate water quality work underway and complete work which would otherwise be unlikely to happen, in the Manawatu catchment.

Independent chairman of the Manawatu River Leaders' Forum Richard Thompson says since the fund wrapped up in March, Accord members had been taking stock of what it had achieved.

"With the help of dedicated members of the community, the Clean-Up Fund has contributed to more than 66,420 native plants being planted ... and more than 208,487m of stream fencing going up.

"There have been 98 environmental farm plans completed to help farmers reduce the environmental footprint of farming, along with 12 fish passage improvements, six wastewater treatment plant upgrades and 19 community-led projects completed or underway.

"Throughout the catchments 14 signs have been erected to communicate the cultural history of each site. Also one of New Zealand's largest inanga (whitebait) spawning sites at Whirokino near Foxton was discovered and enhanced."

Mr Thompson says in addition to these projects, another achievement of the Clean-Up Fund will be helping leverage an overall project spend of more than $46 million towards improving the state of the Manawatu and catchment.

"This includes significant contributions from accord partners such as Tararua, Manawatu and Horowhenua District Councils, Horizons Regional Council and DairyNZ, as well as significant in-kind contributions from iwi, community groups, landowners and industry partners. We are very fortunate to have had this funding contribute to accord work.

"The most recent reports identify progress on issues such as reduced sediment loads in waterways following storm events, in-stream benefits from improved wastewater treatment plant discharges and that hill country erosion works are expected to improve sediment levels in rivers by 27 per cent by 2043."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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