Environment Waikato is to provide $10,000 towards research into developing a low-cost method to remediate sheep dip sites.
HortResearch applied to the Environmental Initiatives Fund for $30,000 towards the project, which will test a method of using plants to improve environmental damage. In the case of contaminated sites, such as disused sheep dips, appropriate trees are planted to contain leachates. They remove water from the site and help degrade contaminants in the soil.
Willows and poplars have been shown to dry out soils more than three times faster than pasture species. A native white rot fungus could be used to further enhance the process and long-term site management would be necessary.
The trial is being carried out on a disused sheep dip site, where willow clones are being planted. As well, the trees will be grown at HortResearch in soil collected from the site, and experiments will be done to determine the tree action on sheep dip soils. The results of the experiments will be used to develop strategies to repair sheep dip sites and spread to stakeholders.