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Submissions support riparian protection plan

Submissions to Environment Waikato’s draft Annual and Strategic Plan have expressed strong support for a proposal to fence and plant river and stream banks to improve water quality.

Several groups, including Natural Logic Limited, the Indigenous Forest Establishment Group, Federated Farmers groups and Whaingaroa Harbour Care have supported the proposed riparian strategy, which intends using revenue from the Investment Fund to provide incentives to people wanting to fence and plant river and stream banks, seeps, drains and wetlands.

Excluding stock from these areas would improve water quality, and the fund will target areas where the work is most needed.

A total of 88 individuals, community groups and corporates have made submissions on the Plan, with hearings of oral submissions throughout this week.

Some submitters opposed rate increases, especially an increase in the Biosecurity Works and Services Rate paid by owners of land over two hectares. While there was support for the intention of Project Watershed, some groups were also concerned about funding for the project, which aims to develop a catchment-wide approach to river management and flood protection.

Mighty River Power asked that the company’s contribution to alleviating flooding be recognised through relief from annual consent and monitoring charges.

Other groups and individuals urged more emphasis on waste minimisation and recycling in the Region and wanted to see greater Council involvement in this area.

Other submitters expressed concern about erosion of riverbanks in the Mercer area caused by wash from speeding boats and urged regulation of boat speeds.

Whaingaroa Harbour Care asked for a subsidy from the Regional Council to assist with further development of their nursery and planting around the harbour catchment. Representative Fiona Edwards said more commitment was required to ensure the organisation’s survival now it was moving towards employing people to undertake planting and speed up the process of protecting the catchment.

The group also wished to participate in development of the riparian strategy, she said.
The hearings conclude Thursday.

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