The Franklin Local Board are continuing to champion the environment and freshwater conservation through their Waterways Protection Fund, which is now open for submissions.
The grant incentivises landowners to restore the Mauku Stream and its tributaries by offering 50 per cent funding for fencing and streamside planting.
Local board member Alan Cole says the Waterways Protection Fund is an important initiative to help empower the community to care for Franklin’s environment.
“We take a lot of pride in the natural resources of this region and so we are committed to enhancing, protecting, maintaining our waterways.
"This fund plays a vital role in that, with water quality testing from other parts of NZ showing improved water quality from fencing and planting.”
The Mauku Stream begins at Pukekohe Hill and flows through productive agricultural land past Mauku and Patumahoe before it reaches the tidal Taihiki River and the Manukau Harbour.
Stream in poor health despite rich natural resources
Monitoring data on water quality and invertebrates for Mauku Stream reflect a stream in poor health. The catchment suffers from low summer flows, elevated water temperatures, and elevated sedimentation and nutrients. It is affected by invasive plant and animal species including koi carp and reed sweet grass.
Despite these impacts, the Mauku Stream contains diverse native old growth forest remnants, wetlands, a scenic waterfall and supports rare endemic species, including the long-finned eel, koura (freshwater crayfish), inanga (whitebait) and kokopu (freshwater fish) as well as the long-tailed bat and migrating wetland birds.
The Waterways Protection Fund was created to encourage landowners to restore the stream by fencing and planting on their property. Riparian restoration, restoring the area of shoreline closest to the water, benefits the aquatic life in the stream and reduces the volume of contaminants flowing downstream to the Manukau Harbour.
Now in its third year, the grant has helped landowners restore over 5km of the stream by fencing and protecting 30,000 square metres of riparian habitat.
Whakaupoko Landcare's Andrew Sinclair says the scheme is a great way to protect the region's streams.
"It is encouraging to see the momentum building to restore streams through incentives such as the Waterways Protection Fund,” he says.
“Landowners across New Zealand are fencing, planting and installing predator control along these valuable corridors. The Waterways Protection Fund demonstrates that people care about the Mauku Stream and will commit to restoring it."
Franklin Local Board has increased the grant funding available as it was over-subscribed in 2017.
The Franklin Waterway Protection Fund is currently open for submissions and you can submit your application via the Auckland Council website.
The deadline for submissions is 31 August 2018.