Plants play an essential role in protecting our waterways. They absorb excess nutrients and support organisms important for soil health, while providing provide shelter and habitat for birds. Their roots systems are very effective in helping to prevent erosion and loss of precious topsoil, by stabilising banks. This in turn, improves water quality and stream life.
We recognise that the planting of riparian strips is crucial to best practice land management and we pay special attention to these areas. All our riparian strips and set backs are fully fenced and planted or managed into a regenerative state. We actively control plant and animal pests to ensure the new plantings have every opportunity to become well established, within a ‘free to grow’environment.
In total, there is approximately 128 kilometres of streams and rivers flowing through Wairakei Estate. All key riparian and wetland areas within the Estate have dedicated riparian management plans in place that have been prepared and implemented in association with the Waikato Regional Council. These areas are protected with over 423 kilometres of fencing (with a further 100 kilometres identified to follow). Wairakei Pastoral Limited has permanently retired 1,201 hectares as riparian areas, with a further 48 hectares identified for future retirement.
- On Wairakei Estate the targeted, average, fenced set back along the Waikato River is 75 metres, with several areas more than doubling this, in excess of 150 metres.
- A set back of 15 metres on all of the streams within Wairakei Estate, considerably exceeds the requirements set by the Waikato Regional Council.
- The (weighed) average minimum, average and maximum set back from the rivers and streams across Wairakei Estate is 22,45 and 147 metres, respectively.
A specific planting regime has been implemented in the Pueto Catchment to protect water quality and ensure beautification of this area, as well as promoting a biodiversity corridor extending from the Kaingaroa Plateau to the Waikato River. Stream banks have been planted with flaxes to prevent erosion and to filter any nutrient runoff from the catchment, before it reaches the stream. WPL also has a Wilding Pine Control Plan, to remove and control wilding pines and protect natural ecosystems within the WPL’s wetlands, stream and river riparian areas and native bush remnants.