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Improved freshwater in at-risk catchments in Marlborough 'a step closer'

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Catchment Condition Surveys are now largely complete in Marlborough meaning improved freshwater quality in several catchments is another step closer.

The surveys cover close to 11,000ha, an area which includes two Catchment Care catchments and seven Te Hoiere catchments.

The completed catchments for Catchment Care include Are Are Creek and the Linkwater Stream with Tuamarina and Flaxbourne still to do. The catchments in Te Hoiere are Rai Valley, Upper and Lower Pelorus, Wakamarina, Kaituna, Ronga, Opouri, Tunakino and Cullen Creek.

More than 400 properties were surveyed in the process.

"The surveys enable a prioritisation of the work required in the catchment areas," said Catchment Care Officer Rachel Russell.

The Catchment Condition Survey gathers information on bank erosion, fencing, riparian buffers, critical source areas, in-stream conditions, weeds and fish barriers. It is collected in a nationally leading GIS data collection software package developed by the Marlborough District Council.

"These surveys help to identify areas with the greatest need and potential to keep our waterways healthy for future generations," said Mrs Russell.

"We go through the raw data with landowners, focussing on waterways greater than 1m wide as a priority for fencing, plantings and improvements," she said. "The ultimate aim is to improve water quality in these catchments and to support landowners with funding and guidance."

As part of the Catchment Care Programme, landowners will be assisted with fencing, planting and the introduction of dung beetles.

"Over the next year our goal is to complete 40km of fencing and plant 9,700 riparian plants. To date landowners have agreed to build 6.9km of fences over the next six months."

One of the newest weapons in the pursuit of better water quality is dung beetles. Ten dung beetle packs have been ordered, with first releases scheduled for late 2021, said Mrs Russell.

The many environmental benefits of the Catchment Care Programme include reductions in soil runoff, improved river and stream habitat, better water quality, the removal of pest weeds and increased carbon sequestration.

‘Catchment Care for at-risk Catchments in Marlborough’ is funded through the Public Waterways and Ecosystem Restoration fund and ‘Te Hoiere Project - Catchment Condition Surveying and Restoration’ is funded by the Freshwater Improvement Fund.

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