Waiapu River Erosion Control Knowledge Sharing Workshop

Waiapu Land Owners, MPI representatives and Gisborne District Council Staff recently met to look at local solutions to the erosion problems happening along the banks of the Waiapu River.

The group visited local sites to see the excellent results of the work achieved by locals in conjunction with GDC and MPI.

Warwick Olsen and Pete Kahukaka from the Waiapu Work Trust guided the group to various sites along the Waiapu River starting from The Rotokautuku Bridge and progressing out to sea.

The sites visited included areas greatly impacted by erosion as well as modern erosion control measures in place such as:

Debris Dams, Concrete groins, Gabian Erosion Cages, Rock Walls as well as natural solutions using locally sourced natural materials such as Willow, Poplar and Manuka.

Pete and Warwick explained the science behind the successful natural based option that they have been implementing for over 40years in the district that the group were able to view up close.

Key outcomes of the programme are to protect and enhance the productivity of our lands.

The support being sought will enable whanau and hapu, who retain mana over much of the multiple owned land blocks that have not yet been treated, to look at various treatments to the land.  The types of treatments could include:

  • debris dams supported by tree planting to hold sediment at source,
  • creating a riparian strip along the Waiapu to both stabilise land and to capture future runoff of sediment and other contaminants that might run into the Waiapu
  • Strategic training of the river flow
  • Establishing nurseries to provide the trees that will be needed for the riparian planting.
  • Teaching local whanau to build debris dams, fences and how to operate nurseries,
  • Co-ordination of other activities that impact on the waters that feed into the Waiapu to ensure existing efforts are leveraged. 
  • The program should see new employment opportunities for locals and greater support for local businesses. The work aligns well with several government and local council priorities including MPI’s Erosion Control Funding Programme and GDC work to better manage freshwater.

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