WET is a new group of volunteers, mostly from Cambridge, who were formerly involved with planting projects on Maungatautari Ecological Island. In 2006 they won a national Weedbusters Award for their work in recreational reserves.
Now the group is focusing its efforts on helping local farmers fence and plant the streams flowing off Maungatautari’s slopes.
“We want to help farmers create corridors of native vegetation along waterways that will help to channel birds into nearby forest reserves,” WET spokesperson Pat Williams said.
“Our overall goal is to enhance local waterways through fencing and planting in riparian zones with native trees, shrubs and wetland species to create a better environment for families and stock.”
The group is raising its own seedlings to sell to farmers, with profits going to the Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust.
It can also advise farmers on the benefits of fencing and planting streams and assist with information on best practice.
The group held information sharing days on May 9 and 19, bringing together speakers from Environment Waikato, NIWA, Waipa District Council and the New Zealand Landcare Trust.
“We already have already found a farmer who immediately plans to begin planting one of the streams leading off Maungatautari,” Mrs Williams said.
The group is planning more networking days and field trips to local farms in future.
Mrs Williams said riparian plantings around Maungatautari would not only help to create ecological corridors into surrounding districts, but would have a wide range of benefits for farmers, such as easier stock management and better water quality in their streams.
To contact the Waterways Ecology Team please call Pat Williams on (07) 823 4627 or email Jane on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Areas to be planted must of course be fenced first, and Environment Waikato offers funding for up to 35 per cent of the cost of fencing and planting natural farm waterways through its Clean Streams fund. For more information please call 0800 800 401 and ask for your local land management officer.