Local plans for managing freshwater in the catchments of Doubtless Bay, Mangere, Poutō, Waitangi and Whangārei Harbour have been adopted by the Northland Regional Council, marking a milestone for the five community catchment groups involved.
The catchment-specific plans have been about four years in the making and it has been a challenging journey for the groups comprising tangata whenua, resource users such as the farming and forestry sectors, and organisations with recreational and environmental interests.
All the groups have worked collaboratively to reach consensus about how best to manage fresh water in their catchments and to develop both catchment-specific recommendations (included in the Proposed Regional Plan), and priority actions that will be undertaken by less formal groups working with the council and other agencies.
The groups spent a lot of time at the start of their journey learning about the complexities of the water quality issues in their catchments. A lot went into the learning process including field trips backed by scientific research to help the groups decide what their priorities were. It has been a mammoth effort and they have taken the job very seriously on behalf of their communities.