SFF Project 13-075: Lower Waiau (Leader-Parnassus) Group

SFF Project 13-075: Lower Waiau (Leader-Parnassus) Group

SFF Project 13-075: Lower Waiau (Leader-Parnassus) Group

Record of meeting 18 December 2013

Present: Simon Lee, David Bush, Richard Reed, James Hoban (ECAN),Chris Bennett,Chloe Armour (ECAN), Blair Kirkland, Peter Montgomery, Andrew Harris, Phil Keene (NZLT)

Apologies: Charles Wiffen

Introductions, Initial discussion and issues

Andrew outlined the drivers for a catchment group being the need to meet the future obligations under the Canterbury Water Strategy and the now Hurunui Waiau Regional Plan that is notified and operative from 20 December 2013; in addition he is initiating his SFF project on North Canterbury Sustainable Farming Systems which in part is a response to the water strategies and will aid the early establishment of catchment groups that can work to influence longer term outcomes as well as bring some resources to assist the groups, in terms of external expertise as well as James and Chloe (who will focus on the Lower Waiau) and the support of the NZ LT.

Andrew outlined the need for farm plans and James outlined some of the options emerging , such as INZ/ Beef+Lamb's LEP and DairyNZ formats - for operations straddling multiple land uses the potential for one template for the catchment was discussed; the need for farm plans from 2017 is preceded by the need to build a record of Overseer modelling beginning now.Farmers should be contacting their fertiliser reps to get this underway; this work will produce numbers that can be plugged in to the developing farm plans; in many ways this work is already being done but needs to be more systematically recorded in the future; records could be built retrospectively by obtaining fertiliser use from reps as well as applying then stock numbers.

Proactive catchment groups who can demonstrate good practice and a profile of their local area had a collective voice and presence to influence future load limits for the Waiau (to be set in 2017). This would 'snow ball' from the use of Overseer, the provision of science information through the project as well as getting an understanding of the natural inputs and those emanating from land use. The latter impacts should be more significant in the Hurunui as more land was available for intensification and irrigation.

There was a need to identify leaders and groups which in time could be linked both through the project as well as the overarching forum options that will emerge, and which could manage the future auditing systems.

James out lined the support he and Chloe could provide under their roles as land management advisers at Ecan, and stressed the need to get the Overseer modelling underway and the importance of demonstrating a record; guidelines have been established with sector companies such as Ravensdown and Ballance to get consistency so that Overseer is being used as fairly as possible. This could also allow neighbours to aggregate their records to build a sub catchment profile. This would effectively produce a baseline for individual and collective action in the future.

Issues are likely to be different at the local level, depending on land use, extent of wintering options, use of lucerne etc.

Phil outlined his background and the role of the NZLT, and specifically the objectives for Andrew's project, covering support and facilitation, documenting and producing catchment issues and action plans, as well the NZLT would provide communications and other 'corporate' service to the project. In March/April a baseline survey would be undertaken to gauge and document issues etc and in addition workshops on how to build effective community groups would be held.

There was discussion around the 'boundary' of the group and how many others might be required. Chloe tabled maps of the catchment; there is flow information available but would be good also to show on the one map where state of the environment monitoring is undertaken; also the extent to which more local monitoring would need to be done that can be aligned to each catchment groups area of influence and to establish the local baseline. Discussion took place re self funding and the extent to which others such as Tim Davieat ECAN could assist. In addition clarification as to what needed to be fenced given the different definitions from regulators, the 'accord', the Fonterra standards etc.

A logical sizing for this group could be to focus in the Leader-Parnassus.

Discussion took place on some of the challenges for the future given increase in grazing for dairying and possible support in that area (Mike Hennessey from Fonterra, Tony Fransen from DairyNZ), use of milking platforms, increased feed crops such as kale and also Andrewoutlined the work being done based on soil types, level of intensification leading to the matrix of good management practice that will help establish 'limits' that will be measured through Overseer in the future. The matrix should be ready in 2015.

Blair agreed to be the main group contact due to Andrew's other Zone and project commitments - thanks Blair!

Phil confirmed that through the Deer project the NZLT is running, there would a half day workshopon the Beef + Lamb LEP (limited to 15 people) and half day farm tour at Mendip Hills on 27 March 2014 and we could get priority for catchment groups members for the LEP workshop.

Agreed actions

1. Chloe/James to see if the map could have state of the environment monitoring sites shown, and Chloe to provide set of all project catchment group boundaries to Phil

2. James/Chloe to enquire as to where a local monitoring site, aligned to the catchment group, would best be located

3. Phil to confirm process for catchment group attendees to get priority to attend LEP workshop on 27 March 2014.

4. Blair and team to contact other prospective group members.

Next stages

1. A terms of reference for the groups will be developed in February.

2. Each farm operation should be actively working with their fert provider to implement Overseer and start to build a profile for the operation.