Funding to improve water quality in Pleasant River catchment

Otago’s Te Hakapupu/ Pleasant River Catchment Restoration Project will receive $4 million over the next four years to improve water quality in the Pleasant River catchment.

The project is being funded through the Government’s Jobs for Nature initiative and is expected to create about 40 jobs.

“This much-needed project helps to address high nitrogen levels and sedimentation in the Pleasant River estuary, which are degrading both ecosystem habitat and health,” Environment Minister David Parker said.

The funding will support the Otago Regional Council and project partners to reduce pollution from entering waterways by constructing 60km of riparian fencing and planting 100,000 plants. The project will also restore up to 25 hectares of wetlands and gather much needed water quality data.

“It’s great to see a catchment-wide approach to the restoration. Activities upstream can have a major impact on sensitive ecosystems downstream, such as estuaries and wetlands,” David Parker said.

 “Community catchment management groups, in collaboration with local government, are one of the most effective solutions to New Zealand’s water quality problems. We hope more catchments will take this approach.

“Central to the new essential freshwater package is the principle of Te Mana o Te Wai, protecting the life-supporting capacity of freshwater.

“This project is a great example of putting Te Mana o Te Wai into practice,” David Parker said.

The $1.2 billion Jobs for Nature programme aims to create nature-based jobs to benefit the environment and support the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the latest stocktake of the programme, as of September 30, projects approved to date are forecast to create 8873 full time equivalent (FTE) jobs over the life of the programme.  As at September 30, up to 5698 people had started employment.