Over the past two years a large amount of work has been achieved under the Manawatu River Leaders’ Accord thanks to a collaborative effort by many sectors of the community. A progress report on the Fresh Start for Fresh Water Clean-Up Fund was presented to Manawatu River Leaders’ Forum members and Ministry for the Environment representatives today at Te Rangimarie Marae, Rangiotu.
In March 2012 the Manawatu River Leaders’ Forum received $5.2 million in funding thanks to Central Government’s Fresh Start for Fresh Water Clean-Up Fund, assisting with over $30 million in work programmes. Funding partners include Horizons Regional Council, Tararua District Council, Manawatu District Council, Horowhenua District Council and DairyNZ. The combined funding was spread over a suite of eight projects ranging from wastewater treatment upgrades, to stream fencing, to native fish and whitebait habitat restorations, environmental farm plans and community projects.
Over the past two years the funding package has achieved;
Manawatu River Leaders’ Accord independent chair Richard Thompson is particularly pleased with the combined work that has been undertaken.
“We have seen industry, local government, landowners, iwi, environmental and community groups come together over a variety of projects, all with the health of the Manawatu River at the forefront of their minds.
“However improving the health of the Manawatu River is not the responsibility of Accord members alone. It is something that the whole community needs to take ownership of. Through collective action we can make a lasting difference,” he says.
Horizons Regional Council chairman, Bruce Gordon reiterates Mr. Thompson’s thoughts.
“The progress report emphasised the level of commitment that has been made by members of the community in particular. Some of the highlights include over 100km of stream fencing funded and committed to by landowners and over 420 people participating in community run initiatives.
“It is also important to recognise that all of the work achieved by Accord partners has led to an improvement in the River’s health as signified in April’s independent science report on the state and trends of water quality in the catchment,” he says.
A portion of the Fresh Start for Fresh Water Clean-Up Fund is yet to be spent with remaining upgrades at the Woodville, Dannevirke and Pahiatua waste water treatment plants to be completed. Some funding for these projects has also become available through savings and interest accumulated throughout the programme. This funding has enabled an increased amount of stream fencing to be completed, and further community projects led by iwi are also planned.
The next iteration of the Manawatu River Leaders’ Accord Action Plan was also discussed at today’s meeting with members agreeing that a new Action Plan should be created in 2015. The 131 tasks identified in the current Action Plan will be reviewed and updated, with the potential for new actions to be set.
A full progress report on the Manawatu River Leaders’ Accord and the independent science report can be found at www.manawaturiver.co.nz or by contacting Horizons Regional Council on 0508 800 800.