Environment Waikato has a responsibility to manage rivers and the land around them to protect people, property and the environment.
It is currently seeking community representatives for its catchment liaison subcommittees, which provide input and feedback to help with this work.
The committees are made up of representatives from the community, district councils, Environment Waikato, the Department of Conservation, iwi and stakeholders such as Mighty River Power.
Te Kowhai farmer Graham McBride, who chairs the Waipa committee, first got involved through his desire to protect the Waipa River for future generations.
“The Waipa flows through my veins – I grew up here swimming and fishing in it and hunting around it and it got to the time in my life where I wanted to put something back,” he said.
“I’d seen the impact of flooding, pest and weed issues and diminished water quality and wanted to put my shoulder to the wheel and use some of that knowledge to contribute to its betterment.”
He is encouraging others to put their names forward.
“Environment Waikato spends $19 million a year on river and catchment work,” he said.
“It’s big bikkies and there’s very little of the region that isn’t affected by drainage and flood management, so it should be of interest to everybody. We need fresh blood and fresh minds and fresh enthusiasm.”
Middle Waikato committee chairman Stu Kneebone, who farms near Lake Karapiro, is also encouraging others in the region to get involved.
“I think it’s more important than it’s ever been for farmers and land users to work alongside the council to ensure the decisions they make are workable for all parties,” he said.
“The advisory structure provides an opportunity to work alongside staff and councillors and is one of the more effective ways for land users to be involved in the decisions council makes.”
Environment Waikato land catchment services manager Bruce Peploe said community representatives were highly valued by council.
“Getting involved means you will have the chance to make a real difference to how rivers and catchments in your local area are managed,” he said.
For more information about catchment liaison subcommittees, or to obtain a nomination form, please contact Susan Gale on (07) 859 0822, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Information is also available on Environment Waikato’s website, www.ew.govt.nz, by following the link from the home page.