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Help for landowners to remove gorse

Friday, 7 March 2014 12:00 p.m.

Funding is now available to help landowners in the Lake Rotorua catchment to convert mature gorse to trees, shrub or native bush.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council General Manager Natural Resources, Warwick Murray, said the removal of mature gorse would help improve water quality in Lake Rotorua. Gorse is a legume, or nitrogen fixing plant, and research carried out by Scion has shown it is capable of leaching significant amounts of nitrogen which then ends up in the lake.

Currently 30 tonnes of nitrogen is getting into the lake from mature gorse. For long-term sustainable water quality improvements in Lake Rotorua we need to achieve significant nitrogen reductions,” he said.

“The Lake Rotorua Stakeholder Advisory Group tabled gorse conversion as part of a whole of catchment approach to achieve the nutrient reductions from the pastoral sector.

“It made sense to target this nutrient source, so Council has approved the gorse conversion project to start immediately,” he said.

“This is great news for landowners. In the majority of cases gorse conversion to trees will be fully funded in the Lake Rotorua groundwater catchment.

“Gorse can be a headache for landowners. It is a pest weed, it spreads easily and is hard to eradicate with spraying alone. By working one-on-one with landowners to control gorse and then replant the area, the new vegetation will provide a long-term solution for gorse control and water quality improvements,” Mr Murray said.

About 870 hectares of land in the Lake Rotorua has gorse and could be replanted.  Funding through the gorse conversion project will be available until 2022, or until the 30 tonne nitrogen target is reached.

The gorse conversion project is part of the framework agreed by Council and stakeholder representatives to achieve the pastoral nitrogen reduction target for Lake Rotorua. The framework includes rules setting nitrogen limits, funded nitrogen reductions and gorse conversion.

The project is part of the Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes Programme, a partnership between Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Rotorua District Council and Te Arawa Lakes Trust to improve and protect water quality in 12 Rotorua lakes.

For more information on the gorse conversion project call Bay of Plenty Regional Council on 0800 884 880.

 

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Rotorua Hamurana