Otago South River Care Inc


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2024 Otago Catchment Group Showcase: Otago South River Care Inc

This catchment group is focused on connecting with local communities, empowering them to protect and enhance water quality for both current and future generations. 
Otago South River Care is a collective of seven catchment groups in Otago’s Clutha District. It covers an area of 364,000ha which includes more than 5,000km of waterways.  
The group was established in 2016 with the aim of supporting farmers to understand the water quality at their properties. Two years later, it had evolved into a farmerled catchment group, and today its 135 members collectively represent almost one-quarter of the area’s farms. 
They are grateful for the Government funding that has enabled them to achieve so much. This includes funding from the Jobs for Nature programme, and the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures Fund. 
Their achievements include planting about 42,500 native plants – many of which they’ve grown from seed. This includes planting native species along 23km of riparian borders and the restoration of about 37,700m2 of wetland areas. 
Otago South River Care runs seed collection and propagation workshops to help others grow their own native plants. Meanwhile, school pupils regularly visit the group’s host farms to learn about environmental management and farming systems. This includes hands-on learning about what waterways contain, and how to look after them. 
This group doesnt shy away from innovation. For example, drones are used to help establish native plants, plus they’re exploring the use of different types of plant guards. 
Another focus is working with local hapū leaders to capture stories of cultural significance. The group has also supported customer market research to understand consumer behaviour when it comes to on-farm environmental action. 
This group is committed to building on its achievements, continuing to support and empower farmers as they navigate changing environmental management challenges. 

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