Wetland projects help offer to farmers

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Farmers are being encouraged to create or restore wetlands on their land, such as this restoration project in Te Puke.
Farmers are being encouraged to create or restore wetlands on their land, such as this restoration project in Te Puke.

Fish and Game NZ marked World Wetlands Day with a reminder it's keen to partner with more farmers to help in the preservation and creation of wetlands.

The international theme for yesterday's World Wetlands Day was Wetlands and Agriculture: Partners for growth.

In the past five years Eastern Fish and Game has helped nearly 70 Bay of Plenty and East Coast landowners with the creation or restoration of nearly 270ha of wetland.

Its staff are continuing to oversee Ohaaki wetland in the Reporoa district, its most significant project to date. Ohaaki was a joint venture between Contact Energy, Wairakei Environmental Mitigation Charitable Trust and the Waikato Catchment Ecological Enhancement Trust.

The $1 million project has involved the construction of a 1.2km-long stopbank to hold Waikato River water in an old river channel and create a permanent wetland habitat - for the benefit of hunters and the area's biodiversity.

The wetland is now home to many game birds and is open to hunters by a ballot system during the game season.

Other Eastern projects include the restoration of 27 remnant Waiotapu Stream oxbows, all contributing to increasing waterfowl productivity.

Fish and Game communications adviser Grant Dyson said Kiwis around the country would be well aware the organisation had gone in to bat hard at times on environmental issues - especially where clean water and game bird habitat had been put under threat.

"The reality behind some of those headlines is that we are working well and very happily with many farmers and other landowners right around the country especially to help enhance or improve good habitats."

Mr Dyson said Fish and Game offered considerable expertise via its 12 regional offices.

"There is much we can do to help people either enhance existing wetlands and watercourses on their properties - or develop new ones."

The advice includes on-site visits and assistance with potential funding and extends beyond help with wetlands to assisting with moves to improve stream bank management and water quality, and maintain or improve fish passage through culverts or fords.

- ROTORUA DAILY POST

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