The Manawatū River Leaders’ Forum met in Palmerston North today to discuss progress of initiatives underway to help improve the Manawatū River and catchment.
The Forum is made up of Iwi/hapū, local and central government, industry, farming, environmental and recreational leaders and has been in existence since 2010.
Independent chair Richard Thompson says the Forum heard from a range of partners who are marking off milestones under the 2016 Manawatū River Action Plan.
“This included an update from iwi regarding their Tū Te Manawa project, which will see eight whare, or “information kiosks”, erected between the source of the Manawatū River and the sea, as well as planting and fencing,” he says.
“This project is well on track with three whare completed, three more underway, and all eight due to be finished by winter.
“Another project well on track is the Manawatū River Network work that Palmerston North City Council is working on in consultation with the community and iwi.
Mr Thompson says Horizons Regional Council presented improving water quality trend information as determined by an independent report undertaken in conjunction with the Ministry for the Environment (MfE).
“This report shows that there has been regional improvement, including in the Manawatū catchment, in water quality over the past ten years for sediment (suspended sediment, water clarity, and turbidity), as well as E. coli. This is great to hear as it encourages Forum partners and our community to keep up the great work they are undertaking.”
Further financial support will be available to community groups looking to undertake projects to help improve the Manawatū River and catchment later this year.
“The Forum is currently finalising work planning and governance arrangements for a new $7 million project that includes support from MfE’s Freshwater Improvement Fund. While this funding will be spread out over five years, approximately $100,000 has already been set aside for community projects in the upcoming financial year.”
Mr Thompson says the Forum also hopes to release a progress report on the current Action Plan by the end of the year.
“We’re really looking forward to updating the public on all the great work that’s being undertaken by our partners and community groups. Every year we see more and more people turning to face the river and do their bit to help improve it which is really heartening.”
For more information and a full copy of the Action Plan visit www.manawaturiver.co.nz
To view the full case study report regrading improving water quality trends in the Horizons Region see: https://www.horizons.govt.nz/managing-natural-resources/water/freshwater