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Published: 2002-02-19 00:00:00

Streams in the Coromandel are the top priority for Environment Waikato’s Clean Streams Project to encourage fencing and protection for the Region’s water bodies.

In a report to last week’s Environment Waikato Environment Committee meeting, project manager Alan Campbell said the Riparian Project Team had been working over the last six months to consider how to implement the strategy. It aims to invest $10 million over the next 10 years in helping communities in protecting rivers, streams and other water bodies.

The work included a review of research into riparian science, a review of existing schemes and experience in other regions, and seeking advice from key people in Waikato farming.

A list of priority areas had been identified to direct resources to obtain maximum environmental benefit, as well as forming part of the assessment criteria for considering applications, he said.

Coromandel scored the highest in aquatic biology, margin biodiversity, on-site water quality and downstream water quality. Upper Hauraki streams and inflows to Lake Taupo were the next most important, followed by upper Waikato tributaries and west coast streams.

The strategy included a range of actions and services to achieve the objective of the project, which included providing advice and education to farmers and supporting it with financial assistance as appropriate, he said.

Environment Waikato’s contribution to any project would be limited to a maximum of 35 percent, and eligibility would be based on a range of criteria that include expected environmental benefit, the scale of the work proposed, level of participation of others and the promotional or demonstration value of the site.

The strategy provided for a relatively slow start in the first year, which starts in July this year, to give farmers time to get involved in the project and prepare their own plans.

Mr Campbell said interest and preparedness was likely to rapidly increase and provision was also made to wind the project down over the last three years to avoid sudden cut-offs.