Freshwater Quality and biodiversity - managing our water quality and natural environment

by Charlotte,

Maintaining and protecting the quality of our freshwater and our biodiversity is critical for making sure the region has a sustainable future. We work hard so our shared backyard is protected and thriving.

We monitor the quality and quantity of the region’s freshwater, air and soil. We all have a responsibility for the state of our environment and our waterways, whether we live in cities or rural areas. Our activities impact on water quality. Sometimes excess nutrients and contaminants enter our water through pipes, run-off, and stormwater networks.

We are working closely with the Ministry for the Environment which sets the framework for what we should achieve in the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management. One important goal is having waterways that are safe to swim in – the national target is for 90 percent of rivers to be safe to swim by 2040.

While we take a lead role in managing our natural environment and our waterways, we also help communities contribute to the projects we deliver. Collectively, we can protect our most precious resources. Everyone has a part to play, so we’ll be focusing on education and community involvement as we look to the future.

We continue to place a strong emphasis on working with our mana whenua partners and communities to set appropriate limits and find ways of improving shared outcomes.

Whaitua committees and catchment communities

We have two established Whaitua committees (Ruamāhanga Whaitua Committee and Te Awarua-o-Porirua Whaitua Committee) who are assisting with the development of limits for water quality and quantity in the Ruamāhanga and Porirua catchments. Whaitua committees are groups of local people who recommend ways to maintain and improve the quality of our freshwater. Committees are formed from within the community they serve, and consult with their people about the issues related to water quality in that area.

We also have a number of catchment communities in Wairarapa that we will be working with to implement the proposed Natural Resources Plan. This initiative encourages behavioural change for better land and water management.

Regional pest and predator control

Greater Wellington is actively involved in the eradication of pests in the Wellington Region. We work to reduce the impact of pest animals and plants on native species, recreational areas, homes and farmland. Our Pest Management Strategy 2002-2022 (currently being reviewed) outlines a range of programmes to manage pests in the region. We are working with Wellington City Council and the NEXT Foundation on the Predator Free Wellington project.

Managing sites of significance through the Key Native Ecosystem programme

Greater Wellington’s Key Native Ecosystem (KNE) programme aims to protect some of the region’s best examples of original (pre-human) ecosystems by managing, reducing or removing threats to their ecological values. Sites with the highest biodiversity values are selected for management under the programme. There are 58 KNE sites in the programme. Within these sites we are able to give our native species the best chance to thrive and survive for future generations.

Maintaining healthy waterways

The riparian planting programme helps landowners to improve water quality and biodiversity with streamside fencing and planting. This reduces the amount of sediment and nutrients entering the waterways through erosion and intensive farming systems. It also keeps stock out of the region’s water bodies (rivers, streams and wetlands).

Overall for this area, the level of service is proposed to increase over the 10 years of the plan.

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