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Stream recognised at NZ River Awards

Members of the Mangatarere Restoration Society planting the Mangatarere Stream. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Councillor says work still to be done

GIANINA SCHWANECKE
[email protected]

The Mangatarere Stream has been recognised as one of the most improved rivers at this year’s New Zealand River Awards, but there’s still work to be done, a Greater Wellington Regional councillor says.

A tributary of the Waiohine River, the stream’s improvements after a decade of restoration and better effluent management were recognised at the awards held in Wellington last week.

The stream has decreased levels of E.coli and a higher macroinvertebrate community index [an indicator of water quality] of 110 – the highest of this year’s most improved award finalists.

Greater Wellington regional councillor and deputy chairwoman Adrienne Staples said it was a testament to co-operation from many groups.

“Water quality in the Mangatarere is slowly but surely improving, and this is a great result for the river, and a real success for the many people and groups involved,” she said.

“We want to thank the Mangatarere Restoration Society, our enlightened Wairarapa farmers and Carterton District Council for making a huge contribution to what is a very positive result.”

Water quality improvement was attributed to stock exclusion and riparian planting by farmers and volunteers, lower stocking numbers and effluent discharge at Reid’s Piggery, as well as lower discharges from Carterton’s waste-water plant particularly during summer.

“Farmers are increasingly looking to environmentally sound practices with many working with Greater Wellington on farm environment plans that protect water quality,” Staples said.

“Combined, they’ve put the river on a course for long-term improvement and shown what can be achieved when we work together.”

The award noted that all dairy farms in the catchment area had been riparian fenced, with work beginning more than 20 years ago.

More recent efforts have had an increase of fencing in the main catchment from about 30 per cent in 2010 to about 75 per cent today.

The work was not over though, Staples said.

“The water quality of the Mangatarere Stream remains unsatisfactory. The levels of E-coli, phosphorous, and nitrogen are below average or in the worst 25 per cent of comparable monitoring sites.

“We still have work to do to restore the health of this stream, and of others throughout the region.”

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