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Two big wins for environmental projects

Two key environmental projects involving Waikato Regional Council have topped their categories at the Resource Management Law Association awards in New Plymouth last night.

The projects category was won by the $22 million Tui Mine remediation at Te Aroha, carried out with funding from central Government, the regional council and Matamata-Piako District Council, and with support from local iwi and the Department of Conservation. The regional council managed the works involved.

The publications category was won by the menus of practices to improve water quality, developed by the regional council in association with the Upper Waikato Primary Sector Partnership.

“It’s fantastic to see the council’s leading edge environmental work being acknowledged in this way,” said regional council CEO Bob Laing

He said the Tui Mine remediation is a great example of what can be achieved through working closely with other parties on big projects.

Late last year, the project partners announced the major threat posed by the abandoned mine site had been removed with the completed stabilisation of old mine tailings. It meant there is no longer any risk of the dam made up of old tailings collapsing and sending toxic chemicals down into the Tui Stream and on to nearby flood plains. The project’s substantial completion of remediation works was marked by Environment Minister Amy Adams on 1 May 2013, and celebrated by stakeholders and the community planting native trees, thereby starting the healing of Te Aroha maunga.

Meanwhile, the menus of practices to improve water quality were developed for the dairying, drystock and cropping sectors. This work was carried out in partnership with nine agricultural agencies and coordinated by the regional council over the past of 18 months

Work was done to identify what the farmers can and will do to reduce the effects of farming operations on water quality.

Experts from the main agricultural sectors then assessed a wide range of potential solutions for the whole region.

The menus are different to other suites of best practice as they have been built with farming agencies, cover multiple contaminants and indicate the cost benefit and factors to influence using each technology. The menus have now been widely distributed within the Waikato and around the country, forming a sound basis for advice to farmers and policy advisors, around an up to date suite of mitigation practices.

This collective approach has created a robust and objective assessment of the likely environmental benefits of each practice identified in the menus and the farm business implications, both positives and negatives.

“The new menus help give farmers options for managing their environmental footprint,” said Mr Laing.

More information on the menus is available at www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/menus while Tui Mine information is at www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/Services/Regional-services/Waste-hazardous-substances-and-contaminated-sites/Tui-mine/

 

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