The Whangawehi Catchment Restoration Project is an outstanding example of how an entire community can work together to make a real difference to the quality of their local waterways.
A project group was formed by local stakeholders keen to protect their river. Local iwi, councils, landowners and agencies all got together to develop a plan to improve water quality and protect endangered habitats.
They took a holistic approach to water management, with actions ranging from pest control to education, planting along the margins of the waterway and retiring land from active use.
Years later, their efforts have paid off. About 7.5 km of the stream is now protected by fences, 42 ha of its margins have been planted with 136,000 native trees, 5 ha of native bush have been retired and debris dams have been built to retain silt and build up the stream beds. The community and landowners manage a large network of pest traps, and birds are already returning to the area.
The group’s water and fish monitoring team have recorded significant improvements in water quality, and the Hawkes Bay Regional Council’s recreational status of the stream has improved by 15%.
Since the spawning site for whitebait was fenced off, significant schools have been observed in the headwaters. The endangered long fin eel population is also now more abundant and varied.
Meanwhile, employment opportunities are also being explored, with projects which could return long-term income, including a walkway, a Red Meat brand, a kiwi restoration project and ecotourism.
- Date: 26 May, 2017
- Category: Fresh Water