Riparian plant selection made easy

Landowners in the Waikato and Waipa River catchments can now easily plan riparian planting along their waterways, using a new Boffa Miskell-designed plant selection tool.

The circular tool, widely known as ‘the Wheel’, enables landowners to identify their waterways’ specific riparian management issues and objectives. They can then select riparian plants suited to the site conditions to address those issues.

The Waikato River Authority (WRA) funded development of the Wheel from its Waikato River Clean-up Fund after Boffa Miskell ecologist, Louise Clark, presented a proposal for the concept in 2011.

The Wheel was developed by analysing more than 60 data sources, including technical publications, GIS resources and databases, and also incorporating the practical experience of nursery staff and riparian management practitioners. The Wheel is specific to the Waikato and Waipa River catchments. It takes into account biophysical factors such as soil type, slope, and plant distribution, as well as plant function with respect to key riparian issues such as contaminant runoff, bank stability and biodiversity.

An accompanying pamphlet provides guidance on use and technical detail on identification of issues. Over 3,000 Wheel / pamphlet sets are being distributed through a wide range of organisations. Louise is also demonstrating the use of the Wheel to rural professionals and landowners in a series of workshops jointly funded by DairyNZ and the WRA.

“Under the new water take consent conditions in Variation 6 of the Waikato Regional Plan and the commitments contained in the Sustainable Dairying Water Accord, there is an increasing requirement for farmers to fence and plant drains, streams and wetlands,” Louise explains. “The Wheel is one method of assisting farmers to not only meet those requirements but also tailor their planting to optimise successful outcomes for riparian management within the context of agricultural land management.”

1 August 2013