Meet the 2022 Catchment Group Award Entrants for the Greater Wellington and Horizons Ballance Farm Environment Awards.
The New Zealand Farm Environment Trust is delighted to announce the entrants for the inaugural NZ Landcare Trust Catchment Group Award. A new partnership between the trusts has led to the award which is designed to showcase and celebrate the great work of catchment groups across the country.
“We are pleased to introduce this new Catchment Group award that recognises the efforts of a rural community working together to improve water quality in local rivers, streams, lakes and wetlands,” said Trust Chair Joanne van Polanen.
“This new initiative has been well supported throughout the country, with catchment groups from north to south participating in this year’s awards programme. It’s great to be able to share the great work they are doing and inspire others.”
The catchment group award winners will be announced at the upcoming regional Ballance Farm Environment Awards functions in June and July. Dates are available here https://nzfetrust.org.nz/events/
Greater Wellington Entrants:
Friends of the Otaki River
In 1989, a change of local body boundaries brought the Otaki River under Greater Wellington Regional Council management, beginning a 10-year community consultation for a Flood Management Plan. When completed, the council initiated Friends of the Otaki River to monitor the plan’s implementation and enhance the Otaki River corridor.
The Friends create walkways, enabling public access to the riverbanks, and enhance the river environment while complementing flood-protection works. Each week, the volunteers bring energy and a diverse range of skills and ideas.
Their main achievements include the ongoing monitoring and implementation of the 100-year flood protection scheme and the planting and maintenance of more than 100,000 native trees. Plants are sponsored and the group partners with others in the community to plant them. They’ve created 10km of walkways and installed significant infrastructure.
In future, they plan to create a podocarp forest and develop a shared path that links their walkways with Otaki Lake.
Upper Waipoua Kaitiaki Group
The Upper Waipoua Kaitiaki Catchment Group was formed in 2017 following a community meeting where attendees unanimously agreed to work together.
The group began with a focus on bettering the land for their community and the future, with the support of Beef + Lamb New Zealand, Greater Wellington Regional Council and Wairarapa Pukaha to Kawakawa.
By deliberately keeping the group small and locally focused, they have 90% coverage of the area of the Upper Waipoua river catchment.
Key achievements include holding catchment tour days where citizen scientists assess water quality, including temperature. This has led to an increased understanding of how shade positively influences habitat quality. They are leading a community planting project, assessing how to best establish shade along the river. Their work has motivated community members to make changes on their properties, including fencing along streams and planting natives in riparian areas.
They entered the Ballance Farm Environment Awards to share their story and potentially motivate others. They are also keen to receive feedback on next steps.
Wainuioru Community River Care Group
Formed in 2017 following a community meeting, this group aims to address policies around management of their catchment’s natural resources.
Their vision is for a healthy river and a thriving community, including the surrounding farms, forests and ecosystems.
With about 30 properties involved, the group includes a wide cross-section of the community. It is supported by an advisory group that includes representatives from councils, schools, iwi, government agencies, and not-for-profit organisations.
They have a range of monitoring sites located in the upper section of the Wainuioru catchment, with positive water quality trends emerging. They’ve developed a catchment plan that includes 150ha of restoration, riparian and native planting, and the removal of crack willow. A native nursery has been established at the local school where they are currently growing 35,000 plants for winter 2022.
They entered the Ballance Farm Environment Awards to showcase their impressive journey and to raise awareness of their work, hoping to inspire others.
Linton Streams Catchment Group – Nguturoa Stream
The Linton Stream Catchment Group started in 2019 with a group of like-minded volunteers who wanted to protect the diverse range of fish, invertebrates and bush remnants in the Nguturoa Stream area.
Their vision is to work alongside their community to protect and restore habitat through a process of identifying catchment issues.
The group estimates they have around 70-80% participation from about 15 properties, including sheep, beef, dairy and lifestyle blocks and also have members who are part of the wider catchment.
Having recently joined the Manawatu River Catchment Collective, the group is proud of the local community’s amazing support. Their other achievements include monthly water quality sampling and monitoring of aquatic flora and fauna, the establishment of a predator trap library, progressively planting and protecting the stream and the securing of a project grant through “Our Land and Water”.
Previous award entrants inspired the group to enter the Ballance Farm Environment Awards. They’re keen to receive feedback and have the opportunity to share experiences and gather ideas from other catchment groups.
Upper Moawhango River Catchment Group
The Upper Moawhango Group was set up in October of 2018, starting with farmers and growing to include the wider community.
The catchment group now encompasses 15 farming properties along with the local mayor, iwi and other organisations, and is part of the Rangitikei River Catchment Collective.
Their aim is to engage farmers in good environmental outcomes and to build on an incredibly strong and vibrant community. This includes encouraging farmers to improve water quality and biodiversity, and increase fish numbers.
The group’s biggest achievement is collecting three years’ worth of data, providing valuable information that is analysed for trends. Expert advice guides land management around streams, including a huge amount of fencing and planting.
They entered the Ballance Farm Environment Awards to raise awareness of the valuable environmental work farmers are doing.