A Northland Regional Council project to improve water quality at Otuihau/Whangarei Falls has received a $258,000 Community Environment Fund grant, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith announced today.


“This grant will enable the Council to continue to improve the water quality at this popular tourist spot and swimming hole by erecting fencing, riverside planting and stock water reticulation on farms in the upper Hātea catchment, which feeds into the falls. The project will erect nearly 40km of fencing and plant 30,000 native plants in the margins between the river and fences and in public areas during the next three years,” Dr Smith says.


“The funding will also contribute to community awareness activities, such as open days and planting days. New signage at the falls reserve will help educate the community on the cultural and ecological values of the water and what people can do to help.


“The project has a total cost of $575,000, with the Council contributing $150,000 and farmers expected to contribute the remaining $167,000.


“This is the sort of practical initiative we are going to need all over New Zealand to meet the Government’s target of 90 per cent of rivers and lakes being swimmable by 2040. This ambitious target will require the upgrade of 1000km of waterways every year for 23 years. This project is not only a positive contributor to this target but is also a good community example of how it can be achieved.”


The Community Environment Fund provides funding so New Zealanders are empowered to take environmental action. It support projects that strengthen partnerships, raise public awareness of environmental issues, and encourage community participation in environmental initiatives. The fund has awarded more than $12 million to environmental projects since 2010.


The Otuihau/Whangarei Falls project’s first community planting day is on Saturday 24 June at Springs Flat Road Commercial Area from 11am to 3pm.

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