Planting along waterway edges acts as a filter to prevent sediment entering the water and eventually finding its way into our harbours.

Nearly 60 landowners and community groups used Auckland Council’s Regional Waterway Protection Fund last year, sharing $800,000 for projects in Franklin and Papakura.

That awareness has seen extra money made available to expand the fund this year into Rodney and Aotea / Great Barrier Island.

Franklin Local Board Chair Andy Baker says the goal is to exclude stock from waterways and plant riparian margins to reduce contaminants reaching the water. “That helps improve our streams, wetlands, and harbours. Their health is critical to our environment, communities and economy.”

The Auckland Unitary Plan requires stock to be kept out of waterways. Deputy Mayor and Franklin Ward Councillor Bill Cashmore says anyone who hasn’t started needs to. “We all know fencing waterways and excluding stock contributes to better water quality.”

Papakura Local Board Chair Brent Catchpole says it’s important landowners, farmers and lifestyle block owners understand the rules. “Council’s website  has more information, and the Regional Waterways Protection Fund can help cover some of the costs of projects.”

Applications can be made to the fund to support fencing projects to keep stock out of waterways.

Applications can be made to the fund to support fencing projects to keep stock out of waterways.

Information has gone out to relevant landowners and support for those interested is available now, with applications open from 1 September to 14 October.

Applications are assessed in November with funding awarded in December for work in 2023. Support is available to any landowner or group working on a 5 hectare plus private property. Those previously funded can apply again if that work has been done.

Rodney Local Board Chair Phelan Pirrie says it’s great waterways protection is being funded regionally, continuing on from the Board’s Healthy Harbour Fund, which ends this year. “It’s a perfect opportunity for landowners to access funds that effectively halve project costs.”

Applicants must contribute the other half, but that can include in-kind support such as volunteer labour, cash or contributions from other donors.

Aotea / Great Barrier Local Board Chair Izzy Fordham is keen for landowners to tap into the fund. “The health of our environment is never far from the minds of locals. We encourage anyone eligible for the offer of assistance to improve our waterways to take advantage.”

Selection criteria include environmental and community benefits, significance and size of the area, working with iwi and other groups, and the likelihood of success.

Senior Healthy Waters Specialist Wendy D’Arcy says it’s a chance to secure funding and advice on improving waterways. “Working across Franklin and Papakura has shown us the great work many are doing to improve water quality.”

Call Wendy D’Arcy 027 264 3379, or email wendy.darcy@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz for more.

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