Funding for farmers facing erosion
Farmers in Hurunui and Kaikōura with erosion-prone land are eligible for funding to help them reduce the movement of sediment down hillsides and into waterways.
Co-funded by Environment Canterbury and the Ministry for Primary Industries, and working closely with other groups such as the Hurunui District Land Care Group and the Post Quake Farming group in Kaikōura, project SCAR (Soil Conservation and Regeneration) aims to help farmers with erosion-prone hillsides through pole planting, retire hillside in indigenous vegetation, refine mapping resources and create strong working relationships and shared learning spaces.
Andrew Arps, Environment Northern Zone Delivery Manager, said: “Stabilising the hillside and reverting areas to their natural state provides a range of benefits for the surrounding area and wider environment; such as the Emissions Trading Scheme, carbon credits, enhancing stream health, benefiting mahinga kai, increasing bee habitat and biodiversity corridors, and perhaps even increasing opportunities in the tourism sector.”
Kaikōura field day
Kaikōura farmer Tony Blunt, a Kaikōura District Councillor and Water Zone Committee member, recently hosted a field day on his property. Around 30 people attended, all interested in seeing project SCAR in action.
“Our SCAR plantings should significantly reduce soil loss to waterways from earthquake damage to the steep hilly parts of our property,” he said.
“The poles are beneficial in keeping the hill on the hill, especially when it comes to retaining valuable topsoil on these areas. The trees will help grow our soil carbon, increase the soil’s water-holding capacity, produce beneficial soil biomass and further reduce the effects of drought.
“So far, we have planted 600 poplar poles on 12 hectares of land, none of which will be retired. We aim to plant another 20-30 hectares as poles become available, and an additional 50 hectares in natives that will be retired.
“We will be able to receive carbon credits and still be able to graze it. On top of this, we will be able to coppice the trees (cut them back to ground level) and harvest more poles for future planting and thin them a little for stock feed during a drought.
“Through SCAR, we have saved over $7,000 so far, bringing the cost down per pole and protector from around $16 to $4,” Tony Blunt said.
Andrew Arps is pleased with the progress of the project and aims to raise more awareness about how farmers can seek assistance.
“We are finding that farmers want the opportunity to implement this programme over more than one year, which is fantastic,” he said.
“We are hoping to spread the word about the range of benefits resulting from this programme, and really want to ensure we reach farmers who are facing erosion challenges but aren’t sure what to do about it.”
Photo credits: Biddy Getz.