Sherry River Catchment Group

As with many idyllic corners of New Zealand the Sherry River catchment began to feel the effects of growing farming and forestry activities. In 2001 the small rural community started working together to resolve the environmental problems that had arisen due to increasingly intensive land use.

Community attention was first drawn to the river when researchers from the Motueka Integrated Catchment Management Programme analysed water quality in all the tributaries within the Motueka River catchment. The results shocked farmers and landowners around the river. Issues included high E. coli levels that exceeded standards for bathing and stock drinking. Something needed to be done!

Farmers began to look at the links between stock and water quality, and considered how they could reduce these negative impacts.

In 2007 NZ Landcare Trust helped facilitate larger community meetings and encouraged landowners to get together and form the Sherry River Catchment Group. This gave them a collective voice and provided a platform to gain funding and achieve even more... a successful 3 year Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF) project.

Real progress was made keeping stock out of waterways using bridges and fencing off waterways. Other improvements included individual Landowner Environment Plans that provided detailed information about stock management, limiting soil erosion and reducing run-off.

At the end of the project achievements include the completion of 16 Landowner Environmental Plans, 3 bridges built over waterways, 4000 plants established along waterways, 5180 metres of fencing put in along waterways... 

The SFF project may be complete but improving water quality remains a long term goal for the Sherry River community. They recognise that further improvements will come as more Landowner Environmental Plans are adopted and riparian areas mature.

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