The management of Taranaki’s waterways has considerably improved in the past 40 years, and monitoring results show some very positive signs. However, the main pressures on Taranaki’s freshwater quality today still stem from intensive agriculture. Nearly one quarter of the region’s land area is used for dairy farming.
The Taranaki Regional Council developed a ‘Regional Fresh Water Plan’ in 2001 to promote the sustainable management of water resources in the region.
While the Regional Council has yet to start its limit-setting process, it is committed to having it done by 2025.
Over the last 15 years there has been a significant focus on riparian planting through the Regional Council’s Riparian Management Programme. Thousands of kilometres of streambanks have been fenced and millions of native plants have been planted. Fonterra farmers have helped make this happen.
Unlike other regions, the relatively short and fast flowing rivers of Taranaki are less prone to algae blooms. The riparian planting also provides shade and filtering of contaminants to further reduce the risk of algae blooms and improve the health of the rivers.
In October 2017 Taranaki recorded its best ever stream health trends in the past 21 years. The Regional Council’s scientist Gary Bedford, Director of Environment Quality attributed the changing course of water health trends to the work of farmers and landowners, as part of Taranaki’s Riparian Management Programme.
Taranaki Fonterra farmers’ progress towards some of the Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord targets.
Taranaki farms are excluded from the Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord statistics when it comes to fencing, bridges and culverts as they are covered by the Regional Council programme.
of farms have collected nutrient management data
Catchment call out #1
Fonterra supports the Nowell’s Lakes project which is restoring freshwater lakes and wetlands.
One of the ways they have done this is by helping plant over 14,000 native plants.
Catchment call out #2
Fonterra farmers are working with the Taranaki Regional Council and local iwi to improve the water quality of Waingongoro River.
The 162 dairy farmers in the Waingongoro catchment have fenced more than 90% and planted over 70% of its streambanks, working in partnership with the Regional Council.