Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith and Māori Party Co-leader Marama Fox have today announced funding of $517,000 to further restore South Canterbury’s Wainono Lagoon.
“This lagoon and its associated wetlands are recognised as meeting the criteria of internationally significant wetlands, and it is important we do what we can to help restore it,” Dr Smith says.
The $517,000 comes from the Te Mana o Te Wai Fund, which was announced as part of Budget 2014 in partnership with the Māori Party. It provides $5 million over two years to support iwi and hapū-led initiatives to improve the quality of local freshwater systems.
Mrs Fox says local iwi Te Rūnanga o Waihao have been freshwater advocates for many decades and will lead the project, with support from Environment Canterbury.
“The lagoon is very important to Ngāi Tahu hapū of South Canterbury and was once a source of mahinga kai. It is also a popular hunting spot for game birds, including Canadian geese, swans and ducks.”
The two-year project includes fencing streams and enhancing wetland areas through native planting and weed control. Funding contributions will also come from the Department of Conservation, Environment Canterbury the Lower Waitaki and South Canterbury Coastal Streams Zone Committee and Te Rūnanga o Waihao.
In 2012 the Government contributed $800,000 from the Fresh Start for Fresh Water fund for work on the Wainono Lagoon. The Fresh Start for Fresh Water fund is a contestable fund to help councils and communities clean-up nationally significant water bodies polluted by poor historic management.
“The lagoon has suffered significant water quality and ecology degradation. Large volumes of sediment have been released into the lagoon through erosion and, since the 1970s, more intensive farming practices and use of fertilisers have left it cloudy and high in phosphorus and nitrogen, with frequent algal growth and blooms,” Dr Smith says.
“What’s needed are some practical actions and a collaborative approach among all those with an interest in the lagoon, and that is what is happening.”