Funding has been reallocated to enhance several key projects under the Manawatu Freshwater Clean-Up Fund following a tour of all projects by the Fund’s governing body last month.
Manawatu River Leaders’ Accord chair Richard Thompson, Horizons Regional Council chairman Bruce Gordon and Horizons Regional Council chief executive Michael McCartney were joined by Ministry for the Environment officials for a tour of Clean-Up Fund projects throughout the Manawatu River catchment.
It was a chance to see first-hand the progress made since the Leaders’ Accord received $5.2 million from Central Government’s Fresh Start for Freshwater Clean-Up Fund in March 2012 to aid the river clean-up.
It also provided an opportunity for the governance group to approve reallocation of funds for some key projects, in particular the stream fencing programme, the Pahiatua sewage treatment plant upgrade and upgrades to other sewage treatment plants within the Tararua District.
Horizons chief executive Michael McCartney says additional funding available for these projects is the result of cost efficiencies achieved during upgrades to the Tararua sewage treatment plants and interest incurred on the bulk funding received.
“These projects were chosen to receive further funding due to the significant positive impact they could have on improved water quality in the Manawatu River and, in the case of the stream fencing programme, the significant contributions being made by landowners,” Mr McCartney says.
“An extra $50,000 has been allocated to the stream fencing programme in recognition of the huge level of co-funding by landowners. Over 63 kilometres of fencing was completed on sheep and beef farms in the first year of the project, with landowners contributing over 60 per cent of the cost.
“This forms part of a wider stream fencing and planting programme which saw 89.7 kilometres of fencing and over 41,000 plants go in alongside streams within the Manawatu catchment over the past financial year.”
Horizons freshwater and science manager Dr Jon Roygard says the fencing of waterways on sheep and beef farms complements the large amount of work being carried out on dairy farms to exclude stock from rivers and streams.
“By excluding stock from waterways we hope to achieve lower levels of E.coli, reduce sediment and nutrient in waterways and improve native fish populations,” he says.
An additional $37,000 has also been awarded to the Pahiatua sewage treatment plant, with the Tararua District Council receiving further funding for upgrades to the Woodville and Dannevirke sewage treatment plants as well.
Mr McCartney says extra funds tagged for Woodville and Dannevirke are primarily due to savings made on pond liners purchased for these plants and will enable further works to be carried out to achieve a higher level of treatment.
“The Mangatainoka is seen as a key sub-catchment of the Manawatu River and a lot of work is being undertaken in this area to improve water quality. We want to achieve the best outcome possible with the funds we have available,” Mr McCartney says.
“Good progress has been made across the eight projects identified for Clean-Up Fund support, however we are not there yet. There is still plenty of work to be done which can only be achieved through collaboration between Accord partners and the wider community.”