2023 Catchment Group Entry: Western Firth Catchment Group Trust
The power of a community to step up and look after its environment shines through in the work being undertaken by the Western Firth Catchment Group Trust.
It was formed in 2017 by residents living on the shores of the Firth of Thames – a large bay in the North Island that features an 8,500ha Ramsar wetland which is home to 40 different species of birds. The residents had concerns about the water quality of streams that flow into the Firth and decided to take action to improve it.
With funding from Living Waters, the group’s overarching mission is to create a freshwater biodiversity corridor that runs from the mountains to the sea.
To date, they have planted eco-sourced, native trees across 25 properties and have received positive support from landowners when it comes to trapping possums. The team has implemented silt traps to filter water that flows from streams into the Firth of Thames – improving its quality and significantly reducing the amount of sediment.
Sediment runoff is being reduced by planting riparian borders that have been protected with fencing. Meanwhile, the predator population has been significantly reduced through the use of traps for possums, cats and stoats. In partnership with the Department of Conservation, the group has made these traps available to residents in the area.
Western Firth Catchment Group Trust has enlisted the help of professional ecologists who regularly monitor the water quality and ecological life in the streams. This is proving to be an excellent resource that enables the trust to measure the impact of improvements they have made.
By taking part in the awards, the trust hopes to raise its profile so others can see the environmental benefits that can be achieved by catchment groups such as theirs.
Enter the Ballance Farm Environment Awards