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Experts appointed to land technical advisory group for lakes programme

Thursday, 9 October 2014 10:00 a.m.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council has formed a new Land Technical Advisory Group (Land TAG) to provide independent advice on land-based nutrient management solutions for water quality.

The Land TAG’s first priority will be the Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes and then it will expand its focus to wider land management issues across the region.

General Manager Environmental Delivery Warwick Murray said the Land TAG would contribute valuable advice on potential solutions for many of the lakes in the Rotorua district and for water quality in the wider region.

“We know that water management requires both in-lake and on-land science and there is an increased need for land-based solutions to manage nutrient loads,” he said.

The Advisory Group is tasked to provide independent technical science and economics advice on existing and new catchment land uses, their effects on water quality and how to mitigate them.

A selection panel, comprised of Regional Council and Te Arawa Lakes Trust staff as well as external advisors Dr Tanira Kingi and Dr Ants Roberts, sought expressions of interest from experts across a range of scientific disciplines including agriculture, economics, forestry and matauranga Maori.

“We received 55 expressions of interest and the calibre of applicants was extremely high. We have appointed nine experts that have the diverse range of knowledge and skills to provide strategic and technical advice with the most up to date and forward-thinking, land-based science,” Mr Murray said.

“This group will be instrumental in the implementation of the Lake Rotorua Incentives Scheme, a $40 million fund to help landowners achieve significant nutrient reductions in the catchment. The Land TAG will review the science that supports land use and management change options,” he said.

The appointed panel consists of agricultural science experts Dr Dave Clark, Dr Greg Lambert, Dr David Houlbrooke, Phil Journeaux and Dr Neels Botha, forestry specialist Dr Tim Payn, economist Dr Suzie Greenhalgh and Gina Mohi for Maori environmental knowledge and planning.

Rotorua Lakes Stakeholder Advisory Group Chairman Dr Tanira Kingi supports the formation of the Land TAG.

“Landowners and farmers in Rotorua catchments are facing complex decisions on land use change and land management investment,” he said.

“The Land TAG will provide important independent advice to the Regional Council and landowners within the Lake Rotorua catchment to help with these decisions,” Dr Kingi said.

The group will meet quarterly with the inaugural meeting held on Wednesday 8 October. Minutes from each meeting will be publically available on www.rotorualakes.co.nz

Additional information:

The Land TAG will initially focus on:

  • How different land uses and land management practices impact nutrient loss
  • The costs of adopting new practices and land uses
  • The economic, social and cultural impacts of new land uses, including how to improve uptake and overcome the barriers to adoption
  • Identification of information gaps and advice on prioritising investment in land-based science, economic analysis and engagement with rural landowners.

 Land TAG members:

David Clark has over 40 years of service to agricultural science in New Zealand. He was Principal Scientist at Dairy NZ, where he worked for 19 years. Knowledge generated by Mr Clark’s research supports farmer choices and has been central in the development of agricultural management tools created to help farmers examine ways to optimise production and minimise environmental impacts. He has constantly investigated innovative ways to allow farmers flexibility in their management styles; developing farm systems to fit different attitudes within the industry through recognising that one size does not fit all. In 2012 David was awarded the Lincoln University Medal for his contributions to the dairy industry.

Dr Greg Lambert is a grazing systems scientist and previously worked at AgResearch before becoming an independent consultant. Dr Lambert has a long history of investigating a wide range of factors that influence on-farm performance, including the impacts of phosphate and nitrogen fertilisers. For outstanding achievements and leadership in hill country pasture research, development of effective sheep and beef forage grazing systems and better educational methods of conveying knowledge and technical information to farmers and industry users he was awarded the NZ Grassland Association’s Ray Brougham Trophy in 2011.

Dr David Houlbrooke has been working for AgResearch as a soil scientist in the Land and Environment Group since 2004. His research focuses on farm dairy effluent management, soil water management, soil and forage response to land use intensification, and nutrient efficient practices under intensive dairy farming. Dave has worked closely with the New Zealand dairy industry and regulatory authorities to develop improved policy and management guidelines regarding the land treatment of farm dairy effluents.

Phil Journeaux has worked in agriculture all his working life, covering a wide range of issues. In 2012 he joined the Waikato office of AgFirst, after 35 years with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. Mr Journeaux has experience in economic analysis, farm management, policy development and water quality issues.

Dr Neels Botha works at AgResearch in their Land and Environment Group. His areas of specialisation include agricultural extension, understanding human behaviour change and the adoption of innovations.

Neels' current research is focusing on understanding the non-adoption of environmental technologies, evaluating the impact of DairyPush on participating farmers, understanding and enhancing the use of social networks to enhance adoption and understanding the non-compliance of dairy farmers regarding effluent management.

Dr Tim Payn comes from a background in soil science and has specialised interest in forest nutrition management. He works at SCION as a Principal Scientist – Sustainable Forest Management; and Research Leader – Economics, Ecosystems and Climate. Dr Payn is heavily involved in global efforts to support sustainable forest management. He currently chairs the 12 Country Montreal Process Technical Advisory Committee which steers policy aimed at defining and measuring sustainable practice.

Dr Suzie Greenhalgh works at Landcare Research as a senior economist. Her role assesses the economic and environmental impacts of various policy options for environmental mitigation actions in agriculture.

Before joining Landcare Research, Dr Greenhalgh worked at the World Resources Institute, an environmental policy think-tank in Washington. She worked on a variety of issues including performance mechanisms such as nutrient trading and reverse auctions for improving water quality.

Gina Mohi is an Independent Hearings Commissioner at Pouwhenua Consultants and the Environmental Unit Manager at Rangiwewehi Charitable Trust. She has a Bachelor of Science and Masters of Science in Resources and Environmental Planning.

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