Bay of Plenty Regional Council has made contact with more than 1500 rural landowners in the Lake Rotorua catchment this week, to help them understand what the Lake Rotorua Nutrient Management Rules (Plan Change 10) mean to them.
Plan Change 10 is part of a range of solutions being delivered through the Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes Programme partnership, to protect and restore Lake Rotorua water quality by reducing nutrient levels in the lake.
Rotorua Catchments Team Leader Rosemary Cross said that every rural landowner in the Lake Rotorua catchment, whether it is a large farming enterprise or a small lifestyle block, has obligations to meet, to help restore water quality in Lake Rotorua.
A brochure that outlines what each landowner needs to do, according to the size of their property has been posted to 1555 affected landowners this week.
“The brochure asks each landowner to phone Regional Council, to talk through their specific needs of their property,” Mrs Cross said.
“We all want a healthy lake for our future generations. To achieve that everyone needs to play their part and help reduce the amount of nutrients entering the lake.
"We have some of the best scientists in New Zealand working on this and they are telling us we need to reduce the amount of nitrogen from entering the lake by 320 tonnes," she said.
This would be done by reducing 140 tonnes of nitrogen through Plan Change 10.
The remaining 280 tonnes would be removed through funding from the Crown and local councils by gorse conversion, engineering solutions, and the Incentives Scheme.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council Chairman Doug Leeder is encouraging landowners to make contact with Council.
He said that being a farmer himself, he understands the consequences of the land management change but it is time now to act for the local environment which is the only way to move forward.
“The Regional Council team is ready to engage with landowners, to help them work out their nitrogen discharge allocation and develop new ways for them to get the most out of their land.
"Already we have landowners looking at new and exciting ventures for their land including sub-division and eco-tourism,” Mr Leeder said.
Although Plan Change 10 is before the Court and not currently operative, it has a legal effect from the date of notification, February 29, 2016.
The brochure which outlines the new rules and landowner obligations can be viewed online at http://www.rotorualakes.co.nz/vdb/document/1624
If you are a rural landowner in the Rotorua Catchment and do not receive a letter please call Bay of Plenty Regional Council on 07 921 3377 for assistance.