Horizons receives Morgan Foundation Award for Makuri River

Horizons Regional Council chairman Bruce Gordon proudly accepted a Morgan Foundation River Award on Thursday night for the Makuri River at Tuscan Hills.

The Most Improved River Award celebrates waterways showing long term trend improvements in water quality. A panel of scientists judge approximately 600 sites using long term data stored on the Land Air Water Aotearoa (LAWA) website lawa.org.nz.
This year’s award acknowledges the improvement in macroinvertebrate communities (aquatic insects) which are an indication of a healthier river and improving water quality.

“Horizons has been undertaking Sustainable Land Use Initiative (SLUI) works in the area and it’s positive that the benefits of our programme are contributing towards improving water quality,” chairman Bruce Gordon says.
“In addition to SLUI, Horizons has worked to make water quality improvements in our catchment areas under the One Plan. We believe this work is reflected in the consecutive Morgan Foundation awards we have received for the Oroua, Mangapapa and now the Makuri Rivers.
“It’s disappointing to be going to court regarding One Plan implementation when it is evident we are making significant improvements,” says Mr Gordon.
Horizons land management staff have completed over 159 hectares of SLUI works in the Makuri catchment. This includes poplar and willow planting, afforestation, retiring land from stock use and fencing off waterways to help with nutrient management.
Horizons natural resources and partnerships group manager Dr Jon Roygard says “there is always more work that can be done to improve water quality, but receiving acknowledgement of progress is heartening.”
“Sustainably managing our land and water is imperative, and of course is a topical conversation that is happening at the moment,” says Dr Roygard.
“SLUI is New Zealand’s largest hill country erosion management initiative. At a regional level over 640 Whole Farm Plans have been created, almost 13 million trees have been planted and over 570,000 metres of waterways fenced off. These activities are contributing to reducing annual sediment loads in our rivers.”
A Landcare Research report which assessed the impact of SLUI on sediment levels in the Region’s rivers, was commissioned by Horizons in 2013. The closest scenario to how SLUI currently operates predicted the annual sediment load in rivers will reduce by 27 per cent as a result of SLUI works by 2043.