Big win for small stream at the 2015 Most Improved River Awards
Waikanaes Ngarara Stream has taken out the Supreme Award at the 2015 Morgan Foundation Most Improved River Awards following a significant reduction in its water-based nitrogen and a dramatic improvement in its water quality.
Were really pleased that such a small stream can stand as a big symbol of what can be achieved through taking a co-operative approach to catchment management, says Greater Wellington Regional Council chair Chris Laidlaw.
While the regional council manages the Ngarara Stream and took decisive action in 2002 to restore the quality of its water, the overall improvement we are now seeing must be put down to concerted action in the streams catchment taken by Greater Wellington, Kapiti District Council and a whole range of volunteers.
If it takes a village to raise a child, it certainly takes a community to restore a river or a wetland. The story of the Ngarara Stream shows that, bringing together as it does public agency and private initiative around a single purpose to restore the health of the river and its associated wetlands, Cllr Laidlaw said.
While Greater Wellingtons work with Kapiti Coast District Council in 2002 in removing sewage discharge into Black Drain and the stream led to a significant 16 per cent reduction in the nitrogen it carried, a combination of land use change and catchment initiatives has secured these gains.
Growing urbanisation in the catchment has gradually displaced dairying and other farming activity as Waikanae has grown in size and cars have replaced cows. Agency and volunteer work has focused on improving the wetlands through which water flowing into the Ngarara Stream passes.
Cllr Laidlaw also congratulated all those involved on the River Story Award won for work in the Kaiwaiwai and Wario wetlands of Lake Wairarapa under the Wairarapa Moana Wetlands project.
Its due to the work of the farsighted farmers at Kaiwaiwai Farm that nitrogen and phosphorous levels are generally falling in the wetland they have generously created. And its due to the remarkable work of Ducks Unlimited in partnership with DOC, a number of charitable trusts, local schools and Victoria University that the restoration of the Wairio Wetland is such a success.
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