Online news

Planting project results seen

In a past life, North Otago farmer Craig Batchelor worked with endangered takahe, kakapo and blackbirds.

Now he enjoys seeing increased biodiversity on his Island Stream dairy farm near Maheno, including a wide variety of bird species.

Mr Batchelor’s property was one of four sites visited last week as part of on-farm sessions organized by the North Otago Sustainable Land Management (Noslam) group to show some of the work being undertaken with funding from Jobs for Nature.

The Jobs for Nature project was a government initiative to improve the environment while creating jobs.

Four farmers who had undertaken a project led a session to discuss their site, the planting plan, what planting the plants involved and the costs associated with the project.

The goal was for people to see how planting critical source areas and along waterways with the right plants could stabilize banks, reduce erosion, and improve water quality by reducing runoff and filtering and by removing contaminants.

Initially, Noslam successfully applied for $170,000 in funding, then received just over $190,000 more.

Students from local schools also helped with some of the plantings, said coordinator Rob McTague.

At Mr. Batchelor’s site, on the corner of Island Stream and Buzan Rds, planting began in January this year on an area of ​​6035 m².

There were 2999 plants planted – 1756 sedges, 775 flax, 447 toes and 21 cabbages. Taking into account plants, plant protection, labor and travel, this was an investment of $8.87 per plant or $4.41 per square meter.

The stock had been fenced out of the waterway and Mr Batchelor said the profusion of Azolla rubra aquatic plants in the water was a good indicator of its cleanliness.

Mr. Batchelor had been a farmer in North Otago for about 15 years; he spent almost two decades with the wildlife branch of the Home Affairs, before becoming involved in the venison industry and fishing in Milford Sound.

He had also been a councilor to the Southland and Central South Island Fish and Game Boards and was “very passionate” about plants, waterfowl and other species.

He said he looked forward to more plantings on the property.

Totara nurseryman Trevor Lee, who provided the native plants, described varieties that could tolerate sitting in water or being wet, and other options above the waterline. He sourced as much locally as possible.

Funding for the plantation project in North Otago would run out at the end of a three-year term and it then had funding for the next 15 months of maintenance.

– Noslam is hosting two workshops on April 27, in Weston and Papakaio, to share information on Plan Change 8 (Discharge Management) of the Regional Water Plan for Otago which was due to come into full effect in the coming months.

The change of plan included significant changes to the rules for effluent storage and effluent application in Otago.

Representatives from Otago Regional Council, Fonterra, Oceania Dairy and Irricon Resource Solutions will be in attendance.