Ruapehu District benefits from Environmental Grants

Collaborative projects between Horizons Regional Council and Ruapehu District Council and landowners is seeing over $20,000 spent on additional river management works in the Ruapehu District.

Horizons manages river systems within the Region via schemes that are funded from direct beneficiaries and general rates. Rivers outside of the schemes are eligible for Horizons environmental grants to address a range of issues.

Northern area engineer, Wayne Spencer, says Horizons has recently approved grants for two significant projects in Ruapehu.

“The first is a collaborative project involving both Ruapehu District Council (RuDC) and landowners alongside the Makotuku Stream near Raetihi,” says Mr Spencer.

“There is a 2km stretch of the stream where willows are causing severe congestion, reducing the flood carrying capacity of the stream. This in turn creates issues for Raetihi’s wastewater facility and adjoining landowners.”

Mr Spencer says while RuDC are providing most of the project funding their preference is to utilise Horizons’ expertise in this area and working collaboratively makes good sense.

“While Horizons does not have a scheme in this part of the Region, we are able to provide approximately $12,000 towards the costs of the project via our environmental grants programme. Our river engineers will also manage the project on behalf of RuDC with savings to both councils in staffing costs.”

RuDC environmental manager Anne-Marie Westcott says “this work is a good example of RuDC and Horizons always looking at how we can cooperate on projects which benefit our shared ratepayer base”.

“After the willows are cleared this summer it will assist the Makotuku Stream in increasing its flow capacity and enable the river to flush itself more readily. This should help improve the water quality to some degree,” she says.

The second project is in the upper reaches of the Ruapehu District, where the Ohinemoa Stream is also suffering from excessive willow growth.

“During high flows debris is getting caught amongst the willows and creating dams that cause flooding on the Poro-O-Taroa Road,” says Mr Spencer.

“The landowner contacted us for help and we’ve approved an approximate $10,000 environmental grant to assist clearing works, recognising the disruption the present situation causes to the local community.”