Our quality of life and well-being are dependent on how we use, develop and protect our natural and physical resources. For Marlborough, our land and water are not only fundamental to the prosperity of the region’s businesses and communities, but they are also central to our social, cultural, ecological and recreational values. From profitable farming operations to clean rivers for safe swimming, fostering a healthy environment for future generations is a priority for our communities.
Catchment Care is a five-year programme launched in 2020 to invest in and collaborate with communities of Marlborough to protect and improve our river catchments, including the reduction of damage caused by erosion and sediment. The catalyst for this voluntary programme has been the Marlborough Environment Plan (MEP), which details how natural resources, including land and freshwater, are critical to the well-being of everyone and everything in the region.
At its basic level, the Catchment Care programme is a collaboration between Council and landowners to provide solutions to catchment degradation or risks, and a collaboration between Council and the Central Government to provide financial support towards these solutions.
Catchment Care is not compulsory, nor is it a compliance programme. It’s a proactive measure by Council to partner with landowners and reach the water quality goals outlined in the MEP, which were shaped by community feedback and national legislation. The timeliness of the programme, however, coincides with the new National Environmental Standards for Freshwater Management (NESFM) from Central Government. Under these proposals, farms would need to have their own freshwater farm plan in the next few years.
A key component of the Catchment Care programme is the catchment condition survey, which would be paid for by programme funds and made available to landowners at no charge. So, what does it entail? After receiving permission from landowners to access their property, a surveyor would map the area for water flows, including fencing, stream crossings, runoff areas and riparian plantings. Weed issues, wetland areas and culverts would also be identified with all work conducted to meet the NESFM criteria. From there, Council can scope and prioritise potential issues, working with landowners on solutions and support. Landowners would have access to all of the data, which could provide a head start on freshwater farm plans, if required in the future.