20 September 2017

Efforts by local community groups, land and business owners to improve waterway and wildlife health around Tauranga Moana (the Tauranga Harbour and catchments) have been highlighted as a feature of 2016/17 Tauranga Moana Programme progress.

“Support for hapū to improve land and water across nine restoration projects, storm water system checks on 350 industrial sites, assistance to four new environmental care groups, and negotiation of 27 new environmental management plans with landowners, are just some of the actions that have been delivered through joint council, iwi and community work under the Tauranga Moana Programme in the past year,” said Bay of Plenty Regional Direction and Delivery Committee Chair and Councillor Paula Thompson.

The Committee received a report on 2016/17 Tauranga Moana Programme progress at their meeting last week.

“We’re making improvements to the health of the harbour and contributing waterways each year. There’s still more work to do and it’s only possible with the ongoing co-operation and support of iwi, volunteers, land and business owners,” Councillor Thompson said.

Bay of Plenty Regional, Tauranga City and Western Bay of Plenty District Councils have been co-ordinating and reporting jointly on their work to care for Tauranga Moana and it’s contributing land and waterways since 2013. The work is guided by the Tauranga Moana Iwi Collective in partnership with the three councils.

The 2016/17 Tauranga Moana Programme annual report noted a range of work across science, planning, and operational activities had been delivered throughout the year. It highlighted that 69 business owners are now making improvements to their storm water systems as a result of council recommendations following pollution prevention checks. A total of 149 private landowners now have agreements in place with Regional Council to improve the management of sediment, nutrient and bacteria run-off from their properties, and 32 environmental care groups are actively working on restoration projects around the harbour, with assistance from the councils.

Tauranga Harbour Catchments Manager Sarah Omundsen said that more than 90 percent of waterways throughout the Tauranga Moana catchments have now been protected from access by farm stock.

“A further 50 kilometres of waterway protection is planned for 2017/18 and we’ll be amplifying our efforts with landowners in the coming years through a new collaboration with Uretara Estuary Managers, Ministry for the Environment and Western Bay of Plenty District Council.

We’re co-funding the five-year, $500,000 Katikati Hills to Ocean Project being led by Uretara Estuary Managers. They’ll be adding to the usual suite of riparian and wetland restoration work we support, by restoring whitebait spawning habitat and fish passage in the waterways that drain into Uretara Estuary near Kaitkati. They’re also working on a citizen science project that will involve community volunteers in collecting environmental monitoring data that adds to the data set already captured by our scientists,” Ms Omundsen said.

Sunday 24 September is World Rivers Day. Find out more about Regional Council’s work on waterways at www.boprc.govt.nz/freshwaterfutures.