Catchment restoration investment will drive clean water and more jobs

A $20 million injection into catchment groups across the country will deliver hundreds of jobs, training opportunities, and help clean up waterways, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and Forestry Minister Shane Jones announced today.

Projects in the Bay of Plenty, Rangitikei, Canterbury, and across Otago will get a share of $10m from the Government’s Jobs for Nature package to help with land restoration, wetland protection, remediation of waterways, planting, pest control, and the increased uptake of farm environment plans.

Catchment group projects in Auckland, King Country, Wairarapa, Tasman, Canterbury, and Otago to enhance water quality, soil conservation and ecological restoration will benefit from $10m from the One Billion Trees fund.

Jones says the funding from the One Billion Trees Fund will enable the six projects to plant almost 1.4 million trees, involve 620 landowners, create up to 172 jobs and provide 152 young people with training opportunities over the course of the projects. These catchment groups will receive between $1m and $2m each.

Mr O’Connor says that with a focus on water quality and planting to lift environmental, economic, and wellbeing outcomes for producers and local communities, the funding delivers on the Government’s promise to clean up waterways and create employment opportunities in the regions.

“As part of the Government’s Fit for a Better World vision, there is an opportunity to explore  New Zealand-based regenerative farming approaches that recognise the connection between the health of our land, and the health and resilience of our communities, waterways, biodiversity and climate,” he said.

The Government has supported a raft of projects to improve New Zealand’s environment and help stimulate the post COVID-19 recovery, including the release of $100m from the Provincial Growth Fund for waterway fencing, riparian planting, and stock water reticulation.

“All of these projects are going to improve our environment, put people into jobs, and help increase local economic activity,” Shane Jones said.

On top of the latest investment, a further $1.87m is being allocated to the Quorum Sense charitable trust to support farmers to share knowledge about developing and implementing regenerative agriculture systems.

Catchment group investments

Pongakawa/Little Waihi (Bay of Plenty)

Working towards environmental improvements in the Waihi catchment focused on planting and land restoration. Focusing on remediation of the water quality and health of the Little Waihi Estuary.

Rangitikei Rivers collective (Manawatu-Wanganui)

Working towards accelerating and expanding existing projects including erosion control, riparian and native planting and removing Old Mans’ Beard.

Otago catchment community

Working towards supporting catchment groups and farmers to drive environmental change in areas that are important to their local community, particularly with planting, preparation and maintenance. Mix of individual farm plantings and catchment community plantings and maintenance. This initiative would be region wide.

Wanaka Future Reset (Central Otago)

Working towards planting, fencing, pest management, wetland construction and catchment mapping.

Ellesmere Sustainable Agriculture (Canterbury)

Working towards riparian planting and fencing wetland areas and streams that feed into Lake Ellesmere/Te Waihora.

One Billion Trees fund 

Ōtara Waterways and Lake Trust

The project will help restore seven streams by planting 92,250 stems across approximately 24 ha, creating 15 jobs and up to 22 training opportunities while reconnecting people to the waterways through community and school engagement. ($1,019,423)

King Country River Care

The project aims to involve 150 farms in the Awakino River, Mokau River and Upper Mangaokewa catchments that cover more than 183,000 ha, create 43 jobs over the course of the project and places for 20 trainees. ($1,991,000)

Wainuioru Community River Care Group

Focused on the health of waterways in the upper reaches of the Wainuioru catchment. This project expects to plant 150ha and plant more than 300,000 plants, including 100,000 in 2021, providing 15 jobs ($1,575,000).

Moutere Catchment Group

Working with 140 landowners in the 14,680 ha Moutere catchment in the Tasman district who are committed to planting trees to address a number of environmental issues. The group aims to plant 271,000 trees a year from 2020-23, creating 21 jobs over the course of the project. ($1,930,000).

Hurunui District Landcare Group

This group of 140 landowners farm 110,000 ha of extensive hill country. They propose planting a variety of at-risk environments on riparian, wetland and hill country to support farms working toward better water quality and biodiversity outcomes. This is expected to provide 48 jobs over the course of the project ($1,500,000).

Landscape Connections Trust in collaboration with East Otago Catchment Group

The recipients will restore riparian and wetland habitats within eastern Otago water catchments cover an area of 124,000 ha. By working with private landowners they will plant 160ha of priority sites within the target catchments with links to the Orokonui Ecosanctuary to improve water quality. The goal is to plant 400,000 trees, with 20,000 to be planted in 2020. The initiative will create 30 jobs to carry out seasonal work, planting, land preparation and predator control over three years ($1,980,000).

Regenerative agriculture investment

Quorum Sense Charitable Trust is a farmer-led extension services project that generates and shares knowledge to support regenerative farm systems and vibrant rural communities. Their network includes arable, dairy, sheep, beef, viticulture and horticulture farms around New Zealand.


Author: Bob Edlin

Editor of AgScience Magazine and Editor of the AgScience Blog

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