A group of Katikati environmentalists has been awarded $250,000 to go towards improving the Uretara Stream catchment.
The volunteer Uretara Estuary Managers group has focused on improving stream and river water quality through riparian fencing, stream bank planting and wetland protection plus monitoring aquatic diversity in Western Bay waterways.
“This level of funding is very unusual for community groups and will enable us to accelerate the catchment work we have been undertaking for many years to come,” says UEM chairman Lawrie Donald.
It is an outstanding result and Lawrie is immensely proud of the group's dedication.
The UEM group is supported by the Western Bay of Plenty District Council, and assisted by Wild About NZ, which is owned by Andrew Jenks who holds a contract with district council to deliver ecological services and education programmes.
The UEM group will receive $250,000 over five years from the Ministry for the Environment to continue its work enhancing the rivers and streams in the Katikati catchment from the Kaimai Range to the Tauranga harbour.
The $250,000 is part of a $500,000 grant to UEM this year for its work across five catchments in the Kaimai ‘Hills to the Ocean' project - Tahawai, McKinney, Uretara, Te Rereatukahia and Te Mania. The balance of the $500,000 is from the Western Bay of Plenty District Council ($50,000) and Bay of Plenty Regional Council ($200,000).
Gaining the funding is fantastic news, says Andrew and builds on the ability of the group to extend the work it has been achieving for 12 years in the wider Katikati catchment.
Urban development, intensification of land use and changing farming practices have caused accelerated stream bank erosion, sedimentation and stream pollution throughout the five catchments. Landowner involvement is critical UEM's work due to the catchment waterways flowing through private land.
Western Bay Council's community relationships adviser Glenn Ayo says the success of UEM is evidence that the combination of selfless volunteer effort and Andrew's guidance is producing quality results.
The Estuary Managers' funding is part of $44 million spread across 33 freshwater improvement projects for 100 rivers and lakes throughout New Zealand.
The Bay of Plenty region received $8.25 million distributed between the UEM ($250K); Bay of Plenty Regional Council's Rangitaiki River wetland restoration project ($1.5m) and Rotorua Lakes Council Lake Tarawera sewerage reticulation ($6.5m).