Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Pleasant River restoration takes shape

Otago Regional Council says a Catchment Action Plan is expected to be ready in early-2024 for the next phase of the Toitū Te Hakapupu – Pleasant River restoration project in East Otago.

Toitū Te Hakapupu is a four-year partnership project between Otago Regional Council and Kāti Huirapa Rūnaka ki Puketeraki, focussed on improving the health of the wai (water) in East Otago’s Pleasant River catchment, encompassing Pleasant River, Trotters Creek, Watkin Creek, and the coastal estuary.

The project, which is now well underway, is funded by ORC and the Ministry for the Environment’s (MfE) Essential Freshwater Fund through the Government’s Jobs for Nature programme to create jobs while enhancing nature.

The $5.2 million dollar restoration project consists of $786,000 of funding from ORC, supported by nearly $4 million from MfE, as well as a contribution by landowners of 25% of the total work being completed on their land.

“This is a journey to create a Catchment Action Plan that will inspire the community to sustain the awa (river) and we’re excited to partner with Kāti Huirapa Rūnaka ki Puketeraki and work in collaboration with East Otago Catchment Group and the community,” says ORC’s Project Delivery Specialist, Melanie White.

“We’re close to having a first draft of the Catchment Action Plan ready to share with the community early in 2024.”

The Catchment Action Plan will take the form of a ‘living document’ with a survey to collect further thoughts and ideas around the plan, she says.

Three of the project’s three main actions are:

  • To develop a Catchment Action Plan to help guide the community at the completion of the project to continue to improve water quality and biodiversity in the catchment for years to come
  • Construction of up to 60 kilometres of fencing to exclude stock from waterways; and
  • Planting of up to 100,000 native plants to reduce sediment loss into the rivers and to increase biodiversity.

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