By Abigail Monteith, Partnerships Ranger, Northland.
Earlier this month DOC and Fonterra held a community open day to celebrate the Living Water partnership in Hikurangi, Northland.
It was fantastic to see farmers, local community members and school students come together to hear about the ten year Living Water programme, which aims to improve water quality and increase the abundance and variety of native species in the Hikurangi catchment.
The day was a chance for the community to hear about work being done in the Hikurangi catchment by Fonterra and DOC, in partnership with local dairy farmers, and learn about the local freshwater species.
The local primary school students were given the opportunity to get up close to a variety of species including tuna/eels, koura/freshwater crayfish, banded kokopu, black mudfish and freshwater insects.
I had a fantastic day but not everyone was so happy—one of the VIP guests, Elvis the long-fin eel, stole the show by trying to escape at least four times. I loved seeing the smiles on the faces of the local primary school students while the DOC staff attempted to keep Elvis contained (just).
The students learnt that these native species need good water quality, and good habitats with native vegetation, to survive and thrive. The students also heard how the health of these species allows us to measure whether our work to improve water quality in the catchment is effective.
It was great to see such a range of our community come along and participate in such a important project for our region.
are any steps being taken to reduce predators in the area?
Living Waters in the Hikurangi Catchment are working hard on identifying opportunities for restoration and conservation management including reducing predators in the area. There are also landcare groups operating in the area, a very active group is Tanekaha Landcare Group – controlling predators to protect kiwi. DOC is charged with management of DOC-administered reserves in the area and are identifying priorities for management.