A Hawke's Bay farmer is seeking national support for a conservation project to turn old farm dams into mini wetlands.
Ewan McGregor told the Federated Farmers' national council in Wellington on Tuesday that there are thousands of dams on farm around the country that could be fenced off and planted to create new wetland areas.
He said many of the dams are no longer used as a water supply for livestock because many farmers now use pipe reticulated through polythene pipe, rather than water-races.
But even if the dam was still needed for water, it could still be adapted for a small wetland, with stock access confined to just a small section.
Benefits could include not only an improved public perception of the environmental attitudes of farmers, but better water quality, an extended dam life, and fewer stock bogged or drowned.
Mr McGreor envisaged setting up a voluntary trust, along the lines of the QE 2 Trust, to develop and help fund the dams to wetlands scheme.
He said schools could adopt individual wetlands as conservation projects.