30 Jun 2009

Golden Bay dairy clean-up hailed as community model

12:57 pm on 30 June 2009

A clean-up by dairy farmers in Golden Bay is being hailed as a success in reducing effluent run-off and a model for community practice.

Aorere catchment farmers, inland from Collingwood, have changed their effluent systems, installed culverts and under-passes and made a host of other improvements after being told five years ago by mussel farmers that e-coli levels from dairy effluent might put them out of business.

The area adjoins the Kahurangi National Park and Heaphy Track and has 30 or so dairy farmers in the catchment.

One farmer, Sue Brown, says the farmers - many third or fourth generation farmers - were initially wary about making changes.

The Aorere Catchment Project was co-ordinated by the New Zealand Landcare Trust and funded mostly from the Ministry of Agriculture's sustainable farming fund.

Some $1.4 million has been spent on clean-up plans, tailored to each farm.

Trust project co-ordinator Gretchen Robertson says the Aorere Catchment project will continue, boosted by further funding from MAF of $259,000 over three years.