Can the Department of Conservation and Fonterra really work together? It's a valid question and one that's asked reasonably regularly, so now Fonterra and DOC are halfway through their 10-year partnership, just how are things working on the ground? Robin Smith, DOC Living Water Site Lead and Libby Sutherland, Fonterra Sustainable Dairying Advisor, share their views.
What we’re up to
We are doers, with the big picture in mind.
Check out what we have been up to around New Zealand, and follow us on Facebook.
Students from Kokopu School investigated the health of their local waterways at Poroti Springs and a nearby farm. The older students also got to trial the new SHMAK (Stream Health Monitoring and Assessment) Kit, and found many macroinvertebrates from Amphipods to Dobsonflies, Mayflies and Kewai (Freshwater Crayfish). They also assessed clarity, Nitrate and Phosphate.
Scientist, Dr Tom Stephens from #DairyNZ is one of our partners involved with designing and monitoring Living Water trials. Here he shares what it's like working on the partnership.
Meet one of our team members, Doug Dibley, helping Fonterra farmers accelerate sustainable farming in Northland, Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions. How is he doing it, and why?
Check out this video from Waihora Ellesmere Trust, showing the work of the Harts Creek and Birdlings Brook Streamcare Group - their long hard work cleaning the waterway which flows into Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere.
Collecting seeds from naturally-occurring plants in the area is an important part of a restoration project. It means the plants will be suited to local conditions and more likely to survive. Thanks to all the volunteers from the Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre who came out Saturday to help Department of Conservation plant Living Water-funded cabbage trees, flax species, Coprosma species, native reeds and grasses and Plagianthus, which were all locally grown from seeds collected from remaining plants in the area by Te Whangai Trust nursery!
What's the identity of your town? We love the Ohaupo community in the dairying Waikato who passionately restore their peat lakes with Living Water, National Wetland Trust of New Zealand and others. Their welcome, farewell, and lake signs are now all about the peat lakes!
Have you ever seen a spotless crake, or pūweto? Not many people have because they're so shy. We don't know much about them at all! But they can tell you a lot about wetland health. Read this feature to find out what Department of Conservation-Living Water ranger Rose Graham and Dr Emma Williams (Swampbird Research) have been doing with pūweto around Waikato Peat Lakes.
Does e.coli die off faster when it flows under native plants, than if it flows through pasture? Fascinating research happening at Institute of Environmental Science and Research - a short listen from RNZ here
In Northland, sediment is one of the biggest problems – and here’s an EX03 Multiparameter Sonde that we’re using to measure it in the Wairua catchment in Northland. Here’s a James Blyth of Jacobs (with Ben from Northland Regional Council) about to install one. If over the next few years, levels of sediment coming out of the catchment drop, that’s one way of knowing Living Water solutions are making a difference. Read about our work in Northland here https://www.livingwater.net.nz/catchment/wairua-river/
Great video demonstrating battering, in-stream structures, and monitoring - all important for restoration of our waterways. Proud to have contributed to the funding of this work through our partnership with the amazing CAREX!
Want to ask Fonterra a question about water? In a first, tomorrow evening, 11 July at 7pm, Fonterra will be hosting a Facebook Live video-stream, answering questions from the public about the country's waterways. Fonterra GM Environment and Living Water Steering Committee member Trish Kirkland-Smith will be in the hot seat along with a Fonterra farmer answering the questions. Make sure you check it out (and ask a question if you want)!
Pūkorokoro-Miranda in the Firth of Thames, where pied stilts and oystercatchers coexist with dairy farms. Click the title above: our North Island manager Tim Brandenburg was there last week, showing us the area damaged during the floods and our newly rebuilt boardwalk accessing this unique shorebird habitat. Read about what else we’re up to in the catchment to enable sustainable dairying + healthy ecosystems here https://www.livingwater.net.nz/catchment/pukorokoro-miranda
When a whole community buys in to a cause, the sky’s the limit – especially when it comes to water quality. Watch this video of a farming community leading the way to improve water quality in Otago. The community involved Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu, Fonterra, NZ Landcare Trust, DairyNZ, Otago Regional Council, Ministry for Primary Industries, Fish and Game New Zealand, Beef and Lamb New Zealand, and Ravensdown in their efforts.
Walkers and wheelchair users alike can soon go birdwatching again – the Pukorokoro-Miranda boardwalk and trail that was damaged during the January tidal surge is almost rebuilt! Living Water is proud to have funded the rebuild, the access it provides builds awareness of this internationally-important shorebird habitat, and protecting it too. Around 40 species of shorebirds – including bar-tailed godwits and red knots which breed in Alaska and Siberia – feed in the area, with sometimes more than 10,000 shorebirds there at one time. Pukorokoro-Miranda is one of Living Water’s catchments – https://www.livingwater.net.nz/catchment/pukorokoro-miranda/ - Thanks Keith Woodley from Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre for the pics!
Great day last week with residents at Waituna Lagoon and a real milestone for the future of this huge and internationally important wetland. The Whakamana te Waituna Charitable Trust has all $13m of funding signed off (with MfE who contributed $5m) and we’re into the operational phase! Together with Environment Southland, Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu, Te Rūnanga o Awarua, Department of Conservation Fonterra, and Southland District Council we’re working towards solving Waituna Lagoon’s challenges - ensuring the wellbeing of the people, the land, the waters, the ecosystems and the life-force of Waituna.