Bay waterways works celebrated

The Wairoa river now has 90 per cent of its waterways protected from stock. Photo: Supplied.

The work of community groups in upgrading the waterways accessing Tauranga Moana is being celebrated by the BOP Regional council as part of World Rivers Day on Sunday.

Efforts by local community groups, land and business owners to improve waterway and wildlife health around Tauranga Moana the Tauranga Harbour and catchments are highlighted as a feature of 2016/17 Tauranga Moana Programme progress.

“Support for hapu to improve land and water across nine restoration projects, storm water system checks on 350 industrial sites, assistance to four new environmental care groups, and negotiation of 27 new environmental management plans with landowners, are just some of the actions that have been delivered through joint council, iwi and community work under the Tauranga Moana Programme in the past year,” says Bay of Plenty Regional Direction and Delivery Committee Chair and Councillor Paula Thompson.

The Committee received a report on 2016/17 Tauranga Moana Programme progress at their meeting last week.

“A further 50 kilometres of waterway protection is planned for 2017/18 and we'll be amplifying our efforts with landowners in the coming years through a new collaboration with Uretara Estuary Managers, Ministry for the Environment and Western Bay of Plenty District Council,” says Paula.

The regional council is co-funding a five-year, $500,000 Katikati Hills to Ocean Project being led by Uretara Estuary Managers.

“They'll be adding to the usual suite of riparian and wetland restoration work we support, by restoring whitebait spawning habitat and fish passage in the waterways that drain into Uretara Estuary near Kaitkati,” says Tauranga Harbour Catchments Manager Sarah Omundsen.

“They're also working on a citizen science project that will involve community volunteers in collecting environmental monitoring data that adds to the data set already captured by our scientists,” says Sarah.

Bay of Plenty Regional, Tauranga City and Western Bay of Plenty District Councils have been co-ordinating and reporting jointly on their work to care for Tauranga Moana and it's contributing land and waterways since 2013. The work is guided by the Tauranga Moana Iwi Collective in partnership with the three councils.

“We're making improvements to the health of the harbour and contributing waterways each year. There's still more work to do and it's only possible with the ongoing co-operation and support of iwi, volunteers, land and business owners,” says Paula.

A range of work across science, planning, and operational activities was delivered throughout the year. There are now 69 business owners making improvements to their storm water systems as a result of council recommendations following pollution prevention checks. And 149 private landowners now have agreements in place with Regional Council to improve the management of sediment, nutrient and bacteria run-off from their properties. There are 32 environmental care groups are actively working on restoration projects around the harbour, with assistance from the councils.

Tauranga Harbour Catchments Manager Sarah Omundsen said that more than 90 percent of waterways throughout the Tauranga Moana catchments have now been protected from access by farm stock.


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