Otamatea HarbourCare Society (Inc)
“Healthy harbour alongside productive land”
The Kaipara Harbour, the largest harbour in the southern hemisphere, is a national treasure however the quality of its water and marine life are being damaged by run-off from the surrounding countryside. The Otamatea HarbourCare Society is committed to reversing this by supporting landowners who are fencing and planting riparian and eroded areas.
As well as improving the quality of the water and boosting numbers of fish and shellfish, fencing and planting can result in enhanced diversity of plant, bird and insect life on the land. The extra fencing can also improve stock and pasture management and productivity.
Otamatea HarbourCare is largely modelled on Whaingaroa Harbour Care which has been operating for almost two decades and has dramatically improved the water quality and fish life in Raglan Harbour. This approach also complements the work of the Integrated Kaipara Harbour Management Group (IKHMG) which co-ordinates harbour restoration efforts over the whole of the catchment.
The principles Otamatea HarbourCare follows are:
- Narrow focus of activity – planting riparian and erosion-prone land
- Sub-catchment based – narrow geographical focus
- Farm Water Quality Improvement Plan (or equivalent) encouraged. This enables landowners to access the NRC Environment Fund and should ensure a more integrated outcome
- WWWWWF (We Will Work With Willing Farmers)
- Connect with community stakeholders – relying on volunteers and paid staff (in the future)
- Water quality monitoring at base of targeted catchment
Other potential benefits apart from improved water quality:
- Enhanced biodiversity on land and in water
- Improved stock and pasture management
- Access to external funding not usually available to individual landowners
- Access to cheap native plants by operating a nursery using existing infrastructure
- People supporting each other in their community