Bang in some fences, pop in some native riparian plants and what a beautiful effective improvement in water quality you have ... yeah, nah.

Living close to Tui brewery I really think this is a yeah right moment.

Last year we fenced 2.4km around waterways ourselves as our fencer kept getting delayed, these guys are flat out. So it was with open arms that we welcomed two fencers this year, we actually waited around 18 months.

Make no mistake, this will be a beautiful wetlands area. That is once it's fenced, the animals have an alternate water supply and native plants out-compete the current willows. Job done, sounds easy? Let's put some metrics around this fencing venture, in other words, will it cost?

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A total of 466m of three-wire electrics up and down hills $3973 ($8.53/m) and 312m eight-wire on the flats $5606 ($17.97/m). It's both hard to get fencers, and hard to accept that doing the right thing comes at a high price, but we have achieved this bit.

Next issue is to plant this 1.7ha site in natives. I'd put the order in for 2000 plants, $5.20/each earlier in the year with Horizons water quality land managers hoping I'd make a real effort to get this area established quickly. (I'm aware that I'll probably still need 5000-ish plants for other areas on the farm.) Sadly there are not enough plants for next season — scheme is already 22,000 oversubscribed. Hence Horizons can only provide me with 1000. Bugger.

We now have the four new troughs on site ($430 each, labour $75), just a small matter of getting the somewhat over-committed hubby to put them in and join them up.
I'd like it to be as easy to do as it looks on paper. The co-ordination around getting gear on site, getting specialist labour, getting quantity and quality of resources such as plants, and lastly stripping or realigning old fence lines that aren't even on a plan.

If there are climate-change activists out there puzzled as to what they could do to help — might I suggest volunteer to help a farmer out for a day or two and learn about the practicalities of fencing, etc. We all want the same results, but it does feel like I'm having to do all the work.

Wetlands area established all up equals $21,999. Plus 1.7ha no longer available for grazing. Just as well not many of us think of the full costs before beginning these projects.

• Sally Dryland is co-president of Tararua Federated Farmers