Owners of small forests in the Whangateau catchment will be invited to attend a workshop early this year as part of an initiative to better manage harvesting across the catchment.
The project is largely being funded by the Rodney Local Board and overseen by Healthy Waters senior specialist Adam Schellhammer, who attended a meeting at the Whangateau Hall last month. The meeting was facilitated by Whangateau Harbourcare, a community group which is concerned about the impact harvesting could have on the health of the harbour.
Council will appoint a forestry ambassador to liaise with small forest owners this month.
“We want to be able to arm people with the information they need to profit from their harvest without impacting on the environment in a harmful way,” Mr Shellhammer said. “The project will be built around the needs of the community.
“We will start by door-knocking and running a workshop to engage with as many landholders as possible so we can identify the help they need. If they are better informed about their obligations and harvesting options, they will be in a better position to negotiate with contractors.”
Mr Shellhammer was encouraged to identify all forest landowners in the catchment so a coordinated forest management plan could be designed.
He said Council was currently trialling a sediment sensor and these devices could be used to narrow down where the largest sediment loads were occurring. This would help evaluate where restoration funds should be invested. Whangateau will be a pilot project which, if successful, could be rolled out across the rest of Rodney and Auckland.