Fences protect Rodney waterways

Last Updated : 07 Aug 2020
Fences protect waterways 2
Wetland area
Fences protect Rodney waterways 1
Jan Standen
Fences protect waterways 3
Earle Barnes

Rodney farmers are getting a helping hand to keep stock out of waterways.

Set up three years ago, the Rodney Local Board Healthy Harbours and Waterways Fund helps landowners and community groups improve water quality in the area.

Fifth generation Kaipara farmer Jan Standen has accessed the fund to help restore a wetland area on the farm.

“Fencing the wider area allows for extra soakage that stops nutrients flowing into the harbour.

“It’s early days, but with the land planted out, you can already see more birds and insects, and improvements.

“As trees grow near the fence that will provide shade for animals too.”

The next steps are planting more natives so the wetland links with a neighbour’s mature bush block to create a large area that supports wildlife.

Jan says the work is a tribute to those who have gone before and will build a legacy for future generations.

Fellow farmer Earle Barnes is creating an outdoor classroom on his farm to honour his late wife Marie Flavell-Barnes, who dreamed of a place where children could explore and care for native fauna and flora, and the stream.

With Tomarata schoolchildren excited to be its guardians, Earle is installing more than 200 metres of fencing to stop stock getting into the stream, a tributary of the Waiteitei River.

“At first I thought I was losing all this land but now I’ve seen it fenced and the plants regenerating, and the stream has improved out of sight. It’s all been worthwhile.”

To date 74 applicants have installed 52km of fences to keep stock out of waterways and planted more than 59,000 natives along riverbanks in the Makarau, Mahurangi and Upper Kaipara catchments.

Applicants can apply for up to half of a project’s costs provided they supply or source the other half.

The fund is a key initiative in the Rodney Local Board Plan, which guides what the board does over the next three years and is open for feedback until 13 August. 

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