The launch of a 15-year Restoration Strategy for the Waikato and Waipā river catchments is being seen as a milestone for the future wellbeing of the area.
The Restoration Strategy has been a three-year project between DairyNZ, Waikato Regional Council and the Waikato River Authority creating a prioritised masterplan for restoration activities.
The Strategy is being officially launched Friday by the Minister for the Environment, Hon David Parker, at Waikato-Tainui College at Hopuhopu.
Co-chairs of the Waikato River Authority, Hon John Luxton and Tukoroirangi Morgan, say the collaboration and effort which has produced the Strategy gives further promise to the restoration work ahead for the catchments.
“While significant work is already underway, the prioritised and coordinated approach will further strengthen the goal of achieving Te Ture Whaimana o Te Awa o Waikato, the Vision & Strategy for the Waikato River.”
Waikato Regional Council chair Alan Livingston agreed: “In the Waikato region we are privileged to have a number of organisations that are committed to restoring the health of our waterways and it was great to have us come together to work on a coordinated plan.
“Water defines our region, but more contaminants are making their way into the water and they threaten our water’s quality and our highly valued aquatic life. The good news is that we have many opportunities for restoration of our most important resource – and our strength is in working together,” Cr Livingston said.
Jim van de Poel, Chair of DairyNZ, also believes that what set the Restoration Strategy apart is the promise to coordinate efforts in areas where the best environmental outcomes can be achieved by all partners.
“It goes to the very core of how dairy farmers think and want their businesses, the environment and communities they work and live in to be sustainable. This Strategy is particularly exciting because it’s non-regulatory. We’re signed up to it because we believe in it and are passionate about protecting and enhancing our waterways,” he says.
The Restoration Strategy is a non-statutory and non-regulatory framework to help with future ‘on the ground’ activities for restoration around the Waikato River and Waipā River. The document provides a foundation to guide organisations that fund or undertake restoration through identification of specific, technically achievable and prioritised actions. Key to developing the Strategy has been the input and support of mana whenua, landowners and many other stakeholder groups in the catchment.