Te Kāuru Upper Ruamāhanga Floodplain Management Plan
The Upper Ruamāhanga catchment encompasses the upper reaches of the Ruamāhanga River to the Waiohine confluence, and includes the Waipoua, Waingawa, Kopuaranga, Whangaehu, and Taueru (Tauweru) rivers from their headwaters within the Tararua Ranges and Eastern Hills to their confluences with the Ruamāhanga River. The catchment has a total area of approximately 1,560km².
A floodplain management plan has been developed for the catchment, Te Kāuru Upper Ruamāhanga Floodplain Management Plan. The process of developing the FMP started in 2012 and was then led by the Te Kāuru Upper Ruamāhanga Floodplain Management Subcommittee, which was established in 2014.
Te Kāuru FMP was developed in collaboration with Masterton District Council (MDC), Carterton District Council (CDC), Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa, Rangitāne o Wairarapa, and the wider community, primarily through subcommittee and as a result the FMP was adopted by the Regional Council on 25 June 2019.
In December 2019, the Upper Ruamahanga River Management Advisory Committee (URRMAC) was established by Council as part of the governance implementation of Te Kāuru. The nomination process to appoint members to the URRMAC was delayed due to COVID-19. However, by August 2020 the nomination process was completed and members were appointed to represent the rivers within Te Kāuru.
The structure for this committee and its reporting lines are outlined in the table below.
The first meeting of the URRMAC took place on 2 December 2020 at 4pm.
Currently, there are proposed funding changes which seek to remove the targeted rate that riverside landowners pay, and replace it with a catchment-wide rate. Section 4.3 of the Te Kāuru Flood Management Plan (FMP) outlines the funding changes proposed.
Implementing the changes to the funding structure will take time due to the considerable size of the catchment, the time allowed for public consultation, and required input into the review of Greater Wellington Regional Council’s Revenue and Financing Policy. This will not occur until the next Long Term Plan process begins in 2023.
During the COVID-19 alert levels, we worked to obtain funding from the government’s COVID-19 economic stimulus package. This includes funding of shovel ready projects through the Infrastructure Reference Group (IRG), Ministry for the Environment (MfE), and other agencies.
MfE Funding – Major Rivers – Riparian Management
A total of 17 funding applications were put forward to MfE for a variety of environmental activities. Two of these applications were selected by MfE:
The Major Rivers – Riparian Management application to MfE was based on the Te Kāuru Upper Ruamāhanga Floodplain Management Plan, specifically the riparian planting and fencing buffers.
This $5 million project spans over five years and will create 35 jobs. 120,000 trees (both willows and natives) will be planted over a total of 100 hectares, with 30 kilometres of fencing. Pest plant and pest animal control will be one of the main costs of the project to ensure sufficient plant survival rates.
Connecting with community and iwi groups is crucial to the success of the project, and wee encourage anyone who has an interest in riparian planting to get in contact.
PDU/CIP Funding – River Road, Masterton
During the government’s COVID-19 alert levels 4 and 3, the Flood Protection department submitted applications to the Provisional Development Unit (PDU) of Crown Infrastructure Fund (CIF) for shovel ready projects.
The successful application was for a number of Hutt Valley erosion edge protection sites, RiverLink (Lower Hutt) river works and Ruamāhanga River scheme River Road edge protection works.
The River Road, Masterton site is based on the Te Kāuru Upper Ruamāhanga Floodplain Management Plan major project response, with an extension of river edge protection from River Road down to (and including) the Masterton District Council closed landfill. The funding for River Road is for a total of $2 million over two years, with a 64% (PDU/CIF) 36% (GW) contribution split.
Operational work programmes continue as they have in the past.