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12.1 Description

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The Upper Waikato Management Zone is divided into the Upper Waikato and Whakamaru liaison subcommittee areas. However, for proposed funding purposes they are treated as one area.

In total area the zone is 320,604 ha of which 125,803 ha is in the Whakamaru area and 194,801 ha is in the remaining Upper Waikato Area.

Geologically both areas are volcanic in nature with 60 percent of Whakamaru and 73 percent of Upper Waikato being Taupo pumice. The remainder of both areas is made up of other volcanic materials, including tephra.

Of the Whakamaru area 39 percent is in pasture, 37 percent production forestry, and 24 percent in native vegetation, scrub and other uses. The corresponding figures for Upper Waikato are 50 percent pasture, 40 percent forestry and 8 percent native vegetation, scrub and other.

There are two existing catchment control schemes (CCS) within the zone - the Paeroa Range CCS and the Reporoa CCS. There is also coverage of the soil conservation works within the Whakamaru zone which, while not carried out as a scheme, is to be managed as one. This involves 65 individual farm properties.

The largest of the schemes, Paeroa Range, is located in the vicinity of Waikite and Ngakuru in the Rotorua District. The catchment area is 68,000 ha and includes the Waiotapu, Whirinaki and Wharekaka streams that flow from the Paeroa Range to the Waikato River. The objective of the scheme is to protect land, roads, bridges and other structures from erosion, improve water quality and enhance the local environment. The scheme also provides protection to the margin of Lake Ohakuri.

The Reporoa scheme comprises of three distinct catchment-based soil and water conservation schemes totalling 56,000 ha located in the Reporoa - Broadlands area of the Rotorua and Taupo Districts. The individual schemes are the:

Torepatutahi Catchment Control Scheme
Waiehu Catchment Control Scheme
Pueto Scheme.

Both the Paeroa Range and the Reporoa schemes and the Whakamaru works were implemented to minimise the effect of high runoff events under storm conditions on the erosion-prone pumice soils in the area. In earlier years, such events threatened the viability of a number of farm properties. The schemes have been largely successful in meeting their objectives of erosion control and protection, and significant benefits have resulted.

The scheme assets include conservation fencing, land retired from grazing use, plantings of trees and structures including bridges, erosion control flumes and crossings, and are valued at $18m.