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Published: 2001-03-28 00:00:00

Nearly $2 million will be needed over the next 10 years to carry out soil conservation and river management work considered essential in Environment Waikato’s Upper Waikato management zone.

The scope of the work and attendant costs have been outlined at a meeting of the Lower Waikato Liaison Sub-committee by Project Watershed staff. Project Watershed is a two year programme aimed at developing a catchment-wide approach to river management and funding, based on six separate management zones.

The Upper Waikato zone stretches from the Lake Taupo Control Gates to Arapuni.

While significant soil conservation work has been carried out in the zone over the past 30 years, there were still some areas that could benefit from treatment, the meeting was told.

Environment Waikato staff have identified eight priority areas for soil conservation work in the Upper Waikato Zone:

  • Waiotapu
  • Tahaanatara/Pokaitu
  • Ruatawiri
  • Kereua
  • Waikora
  • Torepatutahi
  • Otamakokore
  • Wharekaunga

It is estimated that 20,604 hectares is at risk of severe erosion within the Upper Waikato zone, with a further 29,903 hectares consider a moderate risk. Just over 110 kilometres of stream bank is considered to be an existing or potential erosion problem.

Riparian protection proposals are for fencing 222 km of stream bank ($954,600), riparian planting of 210 km ($640,000) and providing alternative water supplies over 222 km ($111,000).

River management initiatives expected to cost around $21,000 per year will see work carried out in the Waikato River channel, Waiotapu, Tahunaatara, Pokaitu, Otamakokore and Whirinaki. There is also about $225,000 recommended for initial river management catchment works to be spent over three years, mainly in the Waikato River channel.

Project Watershed staff are currently carrying out an informal consultation programme to identify an acceptable level of work to be included in a draft management plan for the whole Waikato catchment that will be put out for formal consultation in June.

Environment Waikato chairman Neil Clarke says if local people have an early input then the draft plan is more likely to match their community’s expectations.