Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Council happy with state of environment

Horizons Regional Council has released its latest State of Environment report, providing a snapshot of the region’s land, air and water resources over the past seven years.

The report, produced every five to seven years, is split into four sections covering water quality and quantity, productive land, living heritage and biosecurity and healthy communities which incorporates hazard management, air quality and gravel use.

Horizons science manager Dr Jon Roygard says the council has come a long way since releasing its last report in 2005 but the challenge will always be around making resources available today while providing for the needs of the environment and future.

“Since releasing our last report, improvements to our monitoring networks and programmes have enhanced our understanding and policy development has led us to take a more integrated approach to natural resource management,” Roygard says.

“Some good news stories have emerged but we’ve also identified some areas that require further investigation such as groundwater quality and we are encouraging people who rely on bores for drinking water to get their groundwater tested.

“Our last report was released in the wake of the 2004 floods and highlighted hill country erosion as a major issue for our region. Since then we’ve been working closely with hill-country farmers to identify opportunities for erosion control and sustainable management under our Sustainable Land Use Initiative (SLUI).

“A recent AgResearch report forecast that trees planted under SLUI to date will prevent around half a million tonnes of sediment entering the region’s waterways once these trees mature, which is great news for hill-country farmers and water quality in our region.”

Roygard says Horizons has also made improvements to its water quality monitoring network. It’s able to track where up to 70% of the region’s water is being used at any one time through a comprehensive, automated, water-metering network and intensive possum control has reduced possum numbers to an estimated 1.6 million; just 40% of the region’s estimated carrying capacity.

“Condensing the knowledge we’ve gained over the past seven years into less than 100 pages has been a challenge in itself,” Roygard says.

“We wanted to produce something that not only summarised the state of our environment but was relevant to the wider community and I believe we have achieved that in this report. It is supported by a number of technical reports, some of which are currently in press, and we’re happy to talk to anyone who would like more information”

Copies of the State of Environment report are now available online via Horizons’ website and in hard copy or disc form from Horizons offices around the region.

Horizons will have a stand at the Whanganui River Traders Market in Wanganui on Saturday May 25 and staff are available to present to school or community groups who would like to know more about any aspect. These presentations can be arranged by calling toll-free number 0508 800 800.

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