|Not a member? Sign up now!|
Taranaki’s streamside fencing and planting programme has passed a significant milestone – and one group of lucky farmers today had even more reason to celebrate.
More than 300,000 plants are being distributed to farmers this week for planting under the Taranaki Regional Council’s riparian management programme, taking the total to 2 million-plus since the scheme began in the 1990s.
“The figures show how this programme is really gathering momentum,” the Council’s Chairman, David MacLeod, told a ceremony in Lepperton today rewarding four scheme members for their commitment to the work.
“Our prize winners today are among a growing legion of Taranaki farmers who are committed to riparian protection.“
Under the programme, water quality on the Taranaki ring plain is being protected and enhanced with thousands of kilometres of of riparian fencing and vegetation.
It is one of the largest water and soil conservation projects in New Zealand and landowners who were early with their plant orders went into the draw for $10,000 worth of prizes sponsored by Fonterra, Revital Fertilisers and Spray It. Major winners and their prizes are:
“It’s good to be able to reward some of those who order plants early and ensure that the fencing and planting is in their budgeted annual work programmes,” says Mr MacLeod. “We tender out the plant supply and with plant numbers increasing rapidly, ordering a year in advance is essential for us to arrange supply at wholesale rates.”
The Council prepared a riparian management plan for the Schrader property in 2008 and the couple have since been working to complete it, retiring and planting large gullies bordering the farm. They plan to plant 800 m of streambank this year.
Nigel Bredin and Brenda Cash have almost completed the planting required at their Morris Hill Farms, with 1,170 plants in the ground and another 700 ordered this year. They have also completed 65% of the 2,205 km of fencing required.
Andrew and Marie Robertson are working to complete fencing and planting of the 6.6 km of the Tawhiti Stream that flows through their property, with 1.2 km to be protected this season.
Marlene Busby has had 14,887 plants planted over three properties, with another 3,000 going in this season. Most of the required fencing has also been completed.
Mr MacLeod says today’s four prize-winners are good examples of the riparian programme in action. “This sort of work is happening all over the ring plain, and the prize presentation is a fitting way to highlight it.”
Fonterra’s Manager of Sustainability John Hutchings, says the prize-draw partnership with the Council is one of the ways the co-operative can help encourage their farmers to adopt their own riparian planting programmes.
“Riparian planting is strongly supported by Fonterra as an effective way to enhance water quality. We’re pleased that our contribution to the riparian prizes goes towards helping our farmers do what’s right for the environment. In Taranaki, over 95% of local dairy farms now have riparian plans. And as farmers work to physically put the plans in place, the results are both obvious and encouraging.
“Working with local councils and getting in behind programmes that encourage riparian planting and other water quality enhancement schemes are key priorities for the co-op and we’re seeing progress from these partnerships. Through the Dairying and Clean Stream Accord, some 85% of dairy cattle nationwide are now excluded from waterways, with a goal of 90% by 2012.”
Taranaki’s goal is 90% by 2015.