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Published: 2001-03-28 00:00:00

More than $20 million will be needed over the next 10 years to carry out soil conservation, flood protection and river management work considered essential in Environment Waikato’s Lower Waikato management zone.

The scope of the work and attendant costs have been outlined at a meeting of the Lower Waikato Liaison Sub-committee by Project Watershed staff.

Project Watershed is a two year programme aimed at developing a catchment-wide approach to river management and funding, based on six separate management zones.

The scale of the proposed soil conservation works reflects the fact that only small scale projects have been previously carried out by Environment Waikato within the Lower Waikato zone, which stretches from the Waipa River confluence with the Waikato River at Ngaruawahia to the sea.

Environment Waikato staff have identified eight priority areas for soil conservation work in the Lower Waikato Zone:

  • Mangawara
  • Mangapiko
  • Matahuhu
  • Mangatawhiri
  • Upper Whangape
  • Mangatangi
  • Opuatia
  • Waahi

It is estimated that 24,441 hectares is at risk of severe erosion within the Lower Waikato zone, with a further 22,470 hectares consider a moderate risk. Nearly 550 kilometres of stream bank is considered to be an existing or potential erosion problem.

Project Watershed proposals are for 3158 ha of pole planting ($3,158,000), 2088 ha of block planting ($2,575,950) and 556 km of fencing within the hill country areas of the zone ($4,744,900), over a 10 year period.

Riparian protection proposals are for fencing 1181 km of stream bank ($3,779,200), riparian planting of 1063 km ($3,424,000) and providing alternative water supplies over 600 km ($300,000).

In addition, Project Watershed staff have recommended a further $2,700,000 be spent over 10 years on new flood protection works in Mercer West, Parry St (Huntly) and Deroles. Depending on community demand they say further work could be caried out in Lake Waikare, Lower Mangatawhiri, Lamont and Chisnall.

River management initiatives expected to cost around $166, 000 per year will see work carried out in the Waikato River, Mangawara, Matahuru, Whangamarino, Maramarua, Mangatawhiri, Waahi, Awaroa, Opuatia and Punga Punga.

Project Watershed staff are currently carrying out an informal consultation programme to identify an acceptable level of work to be included in a draft management plan for the whole Waikato catchment that will be put out for formal consultation in June.

Environment Waikato chairman Neil Clarke says if local people have an early input then the draft plan is more likely to match their community’s expectations.

This media item was current at its release date. The facts or figures it contains may have changed since its original publication.