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Published: 2003-06-16 00:00:00

A total of 116 Waikato farmers are taking part in Environment Waikato’s Clean Streams project in its first year.

Environment Waikato is putting $10 million over 10 years into fencing and planting waterways in the Region to improve water quality, and landowners have taken up the offer enthusiastically. This week’s Environment Committee meeting heard that 227 km of fencing has been approved with more farmers involved than predicted for the first year.

The Council has run joint field days with partners such as Fonterra, Federated Farmers, Dexcel and Nurserymen, with co-ordinated messages and displays in media releases. Environmental monitoring has begun at four sites and base data is being gathered for social monitoring as part of the project.

Project manager Alan Campbell said all of the approved work may not be completed this financial year as farmers had been slow to claim their subsidies, and staff were prompting them to complete the work. Estimated total costs for the first year were $1.14 million, with almost $400,000 as Environment Waikato’s share.

He said there was already strong interest in the project for the next financial year and there would be much more competition between applications for available funds. Allocation prioritises the Coromandel and Piako–Matamata area above lowland Waikato and Hauraki.

Cr Jenni Vernon said the team was doing well in making the project successful and keeping administration costs down.