Leading Landcare from the Top

(Published on 2nd November 2012)

It can be very reassuring to know that our rural leaders have first-hand experience of the challenges associated with delivering sustainable land management projects. That is certainly the case with Rural Women New Zealand's National President Liz Evans, who is also a member of the NZ Landcare Trust Board of Trustees.

Liz, her husband Geoff and son David have been farming the high country around the Upper Waihopai Valley, Marlborough for over 30 years. Their property is divided into two titles (Stronvar and Te Arowhenua) which are situated either side of  the Waihopai River. The Evans family have recently been awarded a grant from the DOC Biodiversity Condition Fund to continue the restoration work they first started in the 1970's - when  an area of  651ha was retired from grazing on Te Arowhenua as part of a Soil Conservation run plan, with assistance from the Marlborough Catchment Board.

The Evans family are delighted that DOC has agreed to support the project. Liz said, " We are really pleased that the initiative we started so long ago is now going to be extended."

This new phase will see the establishment of a second reserve and complete work started in about 1985. The funding will be used for fencing to retire an area of high country land, bringing the total set aside for conservation purposes to around 800ha. The total Cost of the project is budgeted at $164,475 with funding coming from the  Biodiversity Condition Fund, QEll National Trust and the Evans family, in equal shares.

The new reserve will make a significant contribution to the preservation of native biodiversity by joining with an adjacent DOC reserve and a QEll conservation area. Together this will create one of the largest covenanted areas in New Zealand; covering an area of about 2,500ha. Revegetating high altitude slopes will reduce erosion and improve water quality, bringing benefits to the main Marlborough aquifers.

Liz points out that the work carried out on their property is very representative of the area, where many successful programmes aimed at stabilising erosion prone land and improving water quality have taken place.

 

 

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