Living Water is conducting a catchment condition survey in the Okarika Pocket, a sub catchment of the Wairua River catchment in Northland.
The survey is taking place as we celebrate World Wetlands Day today (Friday February 2).
Living Water is a partnership between the Department of Conservation (DOC) and Fonterra. The focus of Living Water’s work in the Wairua River catchment is to reduce the flow of sediment into the Wairua River, which flows into the northern end of the Kaipara Harbour.
Living Water Wairua River site lead Ben Herbert says the survey is identifying and mapping wetland areas on all properties, including dairy farms, that can be protected and enhanced. It is also mapping areas where new patches of wetland can be created.
“The survey will map the location of creeks, drains and other wetland areas on all farms and lifestyle properties, identify barriers preventing native fish moving along the waterways as part of their life cycle, and record the length of waterway that’s already fenced.
“This is valuable information farmers and landowners can use to help native fish on their migration journeys and to ensure waterways on their properties are protected,” says Mr Herbert.
Living Water Manager Sustainable Dairying Matt Highway says Living Water will then assist landowners to protect and enhance existing wetlands and to possibly create new wetland areas.
“This baseline data will also help identify priority areas to achieve the greatest reduction in sediment flow into the Wairua River,” says Mr Highway.
As well as reducing sediment load, this work will increase the area of wetland habitat for native species. These include Australasian Bittern/ matuku, fernbird / mātātā and black mudfish.
World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on February 2. It marks the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands, signed at Ramsar in Iran, on February 2, 1971. This is the only global environmental treaty covering a particular ecosystem. New Zealand is one of 168 countries that have signed the convention.