Kaikōura planting sees huge water benefits

A farmer-led planting day was held recently to improve water quality and increase biodiversity values on land near Mill Road in Kaikōura.

The event took place at a local dairy farm and saw the planting of around 450 native trees and shrubs. Representatives from Fonterra, Environment Canterbury and rūnanga attended the event, along with local farmers and volunteers.

The planting day has seen the property successfully mitigate a total of 11 out of 20 local overland flow paths (areas of direct paddock run-off into streams) as a direct result of the planting efforts.

The dairy farm's management has become a shining example of the positive impacts farmers can have on local waterways through building buffer zones between the working farm and waterways, filtering contaminants before they reach the Lyell Creek.

How will this help protect water?

Our land management and biodiversity advisor Heath Melville said the day went according to plan.

“There was a good turnout, and we’ve made good progress with the project,” said Heath.

The group also moved a fence back from the creek, to create space for a filtration area. This will improve water quality by lessening the amount of run-off reaching the waterway.

The project was recommended for funding by the Kaikōura Water Zone Committee, which Heath said strives for “on the ground actions to improve freshwater quality and biodiversity”.

The need for the project derived from a report by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), which gives specific recommendations for the Lyell catchment area; which was part-funded by MPI.

Was it a success?

Water Zone committee member and Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura representative Clint McConchie described the project as “extremely positive" and that working to improve water and land quality into the future is essential.

“We’d like to see more farmers involved in projects like this. (The farmer) has set a great example,” he said.

Fonterra representative Hemi Bedggood said it was a “fantastic day and I hope more farmers will get involved."

Hemi said projects like this are not only good for the environment, but also for “enhancing community engagement”.

Funding is available for planting projects such as this one through Environment Canterbury. The Wildlands Plant for Good scheme is also available to help landowners take steps to improve water quality on their property.

Story courtesy of Alice French and the Kaikōura Star.