Nutrient and biodiversity management key focuses at Hurunui-Waiau Zone Committee Meeting

The Hurunui-Waiau Zone Committee will meet on Monday 8 December in Amberley for its monthly water management meeting.

The meeting will begin with an update from the Regional Committee before it receives a report from the Hurunui, Waiau and Jed Nutrient Working Group.

The zone Committee has been focused on how it can work with its partners and the community to reduce Nitrogen (N) and Phosphorus (P) levels in the zone’s waterways to allow for more development within existing rules. This includes measuring losses, monitoring water use, managing stock access, and working with councils and industry groups.

At the committee’s September meeting around 330 people, mostly dryland farmers, attended to raise their concerns about the limitation imposed by the Hurunui and Waiau River Regional Plan (HWRRP) on their farming operation.

With the P limit in the Hurunui River having breached the rules outlined in the HWRRP, farm systems in the Hurunui catchment are unable to increase nutrient losses (as estimated by Overseer) by more than 10% without resource consent.

The priority for the working groups is on developing a consensus resolution of the “10%” issue and it will also look to develop recommendations on more substantial improvements to the nutrient management policies and rules in the long-term.

Around 85 people attended the first three working group meetings and the next two meetings scheduled for 9 December (Hawarden Rugby Clubrooms) and 27 January (Waikari Hall). Members of the public are welcome to attend.

At Monday’s zone committee meeting the committee will also be briefed on a project to scope nutrient management initiatives in the Pahau and St Leonards Catchments. St Leonards Drain and the Pahau River both have reasonably high concentrations of nitrate-nitrogen (both contributing about a third each to of the total nitrate into the Hurunui River) and committee members have been looking at N and P management opportunities.

The committee will then discuss the management of indigenous biodiversity in the zone and how to manage significant natural areas. The Hurunui District Council and Environment Canterbury are establishing a working party to provide recommendations about biodiversity protection for inclusion in the proposed Hurunui District Plan by July 2015. The first meeting of the working party is in Scargill on 15 December. The meeting is open to the public,

The committee will discuss a response to questions raised by the Hurunui SNA Group who are concerned about the biodiversity information required as part of Farm Environment Plans. Jamie McFadden, Hurunui Natives, will provide a briefing to the committee on voluntary biodiversity initiatives being done in the zone.

The meeting will finish with a discussion on a possible joint meeting with the Kaikoura Zone Committee before it elects its chair and deputy for the coming year and confirms it meeting schedule for 2015.

The Hurunui-Waiau Zone Committee is a joint committee of Environment Canterbury and Hurunui District Council. It includes five community members, two Rūnanga representatives, and one each from Hurunui District Council and Environment Canterbury.

Meeting information

Hurunui-Waiau Zone Committee meeting
3.00pm, Monday 8 December, 2014
Council Chambers, 66 Carters Road, Amberley.

For a copy of the agenda visit the Hurunui Waiau committee page at .