River improvement targets exceeded

More than 136 kilometres of Bay of Plenty waterway margins have been protected from stock access in the past year through riparian management partnerships between private landowners and the Bay of Plenty Regional Council.

“Riparian management programmes are just one of many tools we’re using to protect and improve local water quality and river health. We had an annual target of 101 kilometres of waterway margin protection for the 2017/18 year and it’s great to have exceeded that. The extra gains have mainly been in the Rangitāiki, Eastern Bay and Kaituna catchments where they were needed most,” said Regional Council Integrated Catchments Manager Chris Ingle.

World Rivers Day (23 September) highlights the importance of caring for the world’s waterways. Mr Ingle said that everyone has a role to play in keeping rivers clean and healthy.

“Regional Council offers practical advice, assistance and funding subsidies of up to 50 percent through its Riparian Management Programmes, to encourage property owners to make changes on their land that will improve water quality.

“Our other river care work includes management of freshwater pests such as salvinia (an invasive aquatic weed), proactive pollution risk audits, and several large-scale wetland restoration projects that will also help to improve water quality and wildlife habitat.

“We’ve also set new targets for improving swimmability in some of the region’s most popular but troubled swimming spots, including Kaiate Falls and Ngongotahā Stream, this year. All the best practice methods for reducing E.coli bacteria levels in those places have already been tried, so we’re bringing in specialist expertise and exploring innovative new solutions to bring those locations up to swimmable standards,” Mr Ingle said.