Fonterra and the Department of Conservation (DOC) today announced a $20 million community investment to improve the natural habitats of some key waterways around New Zealand over the next ten years.
By working together, we can deliver additional conservation gains in some of our most sensitive catchments, like Te Waihora-Lake Ellesmere
As part of Fonterra’s Living Water initiatives, Fonterra Director John Monaghan and the Minister of Conservation Hon Dr Nick Smith officially launched the 10-year investment this morning at Lake Areare, a Peat Lake in the Waikato. The investment will initially focus on five key catchments in significant dairying regions.
Mr Monaghan said Fonterra and DOC will work together to make these waterways living examples of how dairy farming and natural New Zealand environments can work alongside each other.
“Our streams, rivers, lakes and wetlands are important to every New Zealander. Today’s announcement is about investing time and resources to improve their quality so that we can all enjoy our natural environment at its best and ensure this can occur alongside a sustainable dairy industry.”
DOC Director General Al Morrison said quality waterways are pivotal to maintaining the healthy environments which protect native wildlife and also underpin a sustainable dairy industry.
“We all realise that our waterways need on-going support and it makes perfect sense for DOC to be working with New Zealand’s largest dairy co-operative to improve water catchment health.
“By working together, we can deliver additional conservation gains in some of our most sensitive catchments.”
Initially, Fonterra and DOC will work with local communities to make a difference to the water quality at five waterways:
- Kaipara Harbour
- Firth of Thames
- Waikato Peat Lakes
- Te Waihora-Lake Ellesmere
As the expert in conservation and biodiversity, DOC will work with Fonterra, local communities, iwi and farmers to help clean up waterways and wetlands at the five selected catchment areas. This will include planting trees alongside streams and rivers to improve water quality, managing pests and weeds and making sure that the right habitats are in place around farms to enhance biodiversity and provide homes for native fish and birds.
Mr Monaghan said the work with DOC will build on the good progress made by Fonterra’s Catchment Care programme, which has seen improvements to two million square metres of land and waterways through planting, weeding and other volunteer work over the past three years.
“Working together with DOC is part of Fonterra’s Living Water Initiative and the long-term commitment we are making to do what’s right for the land and waterways in their communities,” he said.
Mr Monaghan said that while improving water quality and on-farm water management practices has been a priority for Fonterra and our farmers for a number of years, the dairy industry still has work to do.
“This initiative with DOC is part of our ongoing determination through all of our Living Water initiatives to work together, and engage with local communities to make a real difference to the health of waterways.”
Local Waikato farmer, Bas Nelis, said it is great that Fonterra is working on both sides of the farm gate to make a difference to water quality and the environment.
“I believe farming is going to be here for a long time ahead of us, I’m still young so I want to look after this farm for the next generation, for my kids, to make sure it is sustainable for the future.”