Wednesday, 24 January 2024 13:55

Farmer investment pays off

Written by  Staff Reporters
The Rangitikei Rivers Catchment Collective’s (RRCC) Mangawharariki sub-catchment group landowners have been monitoring the water quality monthly since January 2020. The Rangitikei Rivers Catchment Collective’s (RRCC) Mangawharariki sub-catchment group landowners have been monitoring the water quality monthly since January 2020.

Investment by landowners to keep stock and sediment out of the Rangitikei River and its tributaries has been given the big tick from a population of Dwarf Galaxiids, which require healthy streams to survive.

Dwarf Galaxiids are small non-migratory fish native to New Zealand. According to the Department of Conservation (DOC), they belong to an ancient, scaleless fish family called Galaxiidae. Unlike whitebait, which migrate to see, some non-migratory Galaxiid species live out their entire life in the stream or river in which they hatch.

The Rangitikei Rivers Catchment Collective’s (RRCC) Mangawharariki sub-catchment group landowners fenced the main part of Mangawharariki River that runs through their farms and have been monitoring the water quality monthly since January 2020.

The Galaxiids were discovered during a stream health assessment workshop the farmer-led RRCC Mangawharariki group organised to look in-depth at stream health, by counting the number of macroinvertebrates within a section of the river.

Greg Clifton, Mangawharariki sub-catchment group chairperson, says it was “extremely rewarding” to find the fish.

“Landowners fenced the main river some time ago as a freshwater requirement and a few of us dedicated landowners have also been fencing along the tributaries of the river to keep sediment and nutrients out of the water,” Clifton says.

“This fish are not well-known, and it was hugely exciting to find the small fish,” says Louise Totman, RRCC catchment coordinator.

Since 2018, the collective has built a significant regional dataset of water quality monitoring.

Three to five years of data have been collected from nine of its 22 sub-catchment groups, and this is set to continue growing year-on-year.

“The fish are a good indicator of healthy water, and a lack of predators,” Totman says.

“Galaxiids are a perfect snack for introduced trout, but because of the old hydro power dam at the bottom of the Mangawharariki River, trout can’t get up this far,” she says.

RRCC is a farmer-led collective of rural residents and landowners working together with funding from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to protect the environment and enhance biodiversity in the Rangitikei, Turakina and Whangaehu River catchments. RRCC farmer members undertake monthly water quality monitoring at 88 sites across its 700,000ha catchment.

More like this

Featured

Farmers back ACT MP's bill

ACT MP and Northland dairy farmer Mark Cameron is lodging a new member’s bill that would prevent regional and district councils from regulating greenhouse gas emissions.

Calls for more support for vets, nurses

The animal health sector needs to change to keep up with the times, according to the discussion at a breakfast event hosted by Boehringer Ingelheim at the NZ Vet Association and NZ Veterinary Nursing Association conference in Christchurch recently.

National

Govt unveils climate strategy

The Government has launched its new Climate Strategy, which it says is a comprehensive and ambitious plan to reduce the…

Machinery & Products

More efficient jumbo wagons

In a move that will be welcomed by many, Austrian manufacturer Pottinger appears to be following a trend of bringing…

Fieldays' top young innovator

Growing up on a South Waikato sheep and beef farm, Penny Ranger has firsthand experience on the day-to-day challenges.

Claas completes 500,000th machine

Claas is celebrating half a million combine harvesters built since 1936, marking the occasion by building anniversary machines from the…

Donated tractors welcome news

When Cyclone Gabrielle hit in February 2023, it left an estimated $13.5 billion worth of damage across New Zealand.

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Fieldays focused

OPINION: Your old mate had a wee crack at Fieldays recently for the perception it was more focused on quantity…

'Woke madness'

OPINION: Real estate agent Janet Dickson's court case, following her refusal to complete a compulsory Māori culture course, is being watched…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter