A catchment care group is being developed for Stoney Creek as part of efforts to restore the Manawatu River catchment through greater community involvement.
The initiative, led by NZ Landcare Trust, is one of five community projects to receive funding under the latest round of Manawatu River Leaders’ Accord grants; the second since a successful bid to Central Government’s Fresh Start for Freshwater Clean-up Fund in 2012.
NZ Landcare Trust Manawatu-Wanganui regional coordinator Alastair Cole will oversee the catchment care project and says nationally such groups empower the community, build networks between organisations and individuals, and have a strong record of long-term success.
“Stoney Creek feeds directly into the Manawatu River at Te Matai Road and has a 2,400 hectare catchment featuring large amounts of intensive agriculture and horticulture,” Mr Cole says.
“This project began as a discussion with a very environmentally proactive farmer who’d like to develop and establish wetlands, plant large riparian margins and carry out sediment retention work. He’s supported by his neighbour who’d like to progress enhancement work along his section of Creek and we’ve already had interest from two schools in the area.
“Based on discussions with landowners, drawing additional landowners and community members into this project will not be challenging.”
Horizons Regional Council chief executive Michael McCartney says community involvement and ownership is an essential element in creating long-term change.
“We’ve already seen some great progress made by community groups who received funding through the first round of community grants. We’re really looking forward to seeing this good work continue,” Mr McCartney says.
“Tararua College students are working to propagate native plants for planting in the Mangatainoka Catchment. There have been a series of hikoi in Tokomaru where an iwi group is looking to carry out restoration work and the Pataka-Kai-A-Tuna project is underway in the Oroua catchment to enhance habitat for native fish.
“These projects compliment the wider work programme of the Freshwater Clean-up Fund and other activities underway as part of the Manawatu River Leaders’ Accord. It’s not just about funding, but also opportunities to tap into collective knowledge from both river leaders and the wider community to accelerate progress towards meeting Accord goals,” he says.
Successful applicants to the second round of River Accord community grants were: