Motivating other farmers to prioritise the environment

Dairy farmer and farm environmental consultant David Ashby joined the Waimakariri Water Zone Committee to encourage fellow farmers to consider the environment when making decisions on-farm.

“I wanted to get stuff done and could see that we all had a part to play in improving our local streams and waterways. Being a farmer myself, I felt I could motivate other farmers to prioritise the environment.”

David has been a member of the committee for five years and has chaired the committee since March 2017. During that time, he has experienced both challenges and progress when it comes to local waterways.

“We’ve had plenty of tough decisions to make where different groups of people want different outcomes. It has been a balancing act and putting together the Zone Implementation Programme Addendum (ZIPA) recommendations has been one of the most challenging things I’ve ever worked on.

“We’ve also seen progress and improvements, especially by working collaboratively with groups like Waimakariri Irrigation Limited (WIL), Waimakariri District Council (WDC), the Next Generation Farmers Group, the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR), along with community groups and hundreds of residents who have attended our meetings and workshops.”

Collaboration key to sucess

David believes collaborative projects such as the Silverstream infiltration trial with WIL, denitrification wall with ESR, workshops with the Next Generation Farmers Group, Ashley-Rakahuri River enhancement project with the Ashley Rakahuri Rivercare Group (ARRG) and the Tūtaepatu wetland project with the Tūhaitara Trust are the key to creating real change.

“Working with these groups has helped us make rapid progress on projects where we can clearly see the impact of our Immediate Steps (IMS) funding.”
David says it’s an exciting time to be part of the committee with a focus on improving local waterways through priority catchment areas which are likely to include Silverstream, the Cam River tributaries and Saltwater Creek.

“It’s a great time to join the committee as we’re addressing issues at a local level and there’s a strong commitment to achieving visible improvements for our streams and rivers.”