20 Nov 2015

A Waikato Wetland Project

From Country Life, 9:17 pm on 20 November 2015
James Sukias NIWA beside water sampling equipment

In April 2015 Roger MacGibbon from Opus was like a boy in a sand pit. Photo: RNZ/Susan Murray

He and his digger dug, and dug and dug.  They dug six ponds that now form part of an interconnected wetland which in turn is part of a two year, $250,000, research project aiming to provide "how to" information about wetlands.

Wetlands are one of the ways farmers can remove harmful nutrients from their farms and Roger says they'll have a definite role in the Waikato landscape.

As well as design aspects of wetlands, the project will highlight how much it costs to remove the nutrients using a wetland.  This, says Roger,  will be a big step forward.

"Conservationist Gordon Stephenson said to me 'the day we can have a farmer looking up at his hills and seeing nitrogen and phosphorus and water movement as they do pasture growth and livestock condition, then we won't have a problem', and I think he's absolutely right. But we have a bit of learning to do before we reach that stage."

Click here to see the wetland construction and development.

Wetlands Overview

Wetlands Overview Photo: DairyNZ