Waikato gets $5.5m in funding to improve fresh water

Waikato Regional Council has secured $5.535 million in Government funding for quick-start restoration projects, including $2.825 million towards creating a green corridor along the lower Piako River from the Kopuatai wetland to the Hauraki Gulf.  This project is expected to create 47 new jobs.

The council received –

  • $2.825 million towards creating a green corridor along the lower Piako River from the Kopuatai wetland to the Hauraki Gulf;


  • $1.74 million towards habitat enhancement following willow and poplar removal along a 17 kilometre section of the Waiomou Stream, a major tributary of the Waihou River;


  • $740,000 towards restoring minimum water levels at Lake Kimihia, near Huntly;  and
  • $230,000 towards pest control and planting at Opuatia Wetland in the lower Waikato river catchment.

Waikato Regional Council chair Russ Rimmington said getting the funding meant work would not only be fast tracked for the benefit of the respective local environments but it would support local contractors and businesses such as fencers, arborists, pest control specialists, nurseries and hardware/rural supply stores.


Total funding received: $2.825
Total project cost: $3.225M
New jobs expected over project life: 47

This project seeks to reconnect the Kopuatai wetland to the Firth of Thames. Both are RAMSAR sites of international ecological significance. The vision is to have a continuous green corridor along the Piako River, from the restiad peat bog of the Kopuatai wetland through the mangrove forests and the salt marshes to the chenier plains of the Firth of Thames foreshore.

There will also be riparian planting to increase biodiversity and shaded margins to drainage systems extending from Kopu Bridge, Waihou River, to Waitakaruru , Piako River, which will provide important shade to aquatic fish and insects. All the plants will be eco-sourced with preference to them being grown by local nurseries and social enterprises.

Key activities

  • 36km of riparian margin fenced: a 14m wide riparian margin along the Piako River and 4m wide along the drainage systems.
  • 35ha of riparian margin retired, planted and habitat created.
  • 248,340 native plants planted.
  • Animal pest control along a 36km riparian margin for 12 months.

Environmental benefits

  • Enhanced habitat for native fish and waterfowl.
  • An increased network of biodiversity sites connected to DOC conservation land and reserves.
  • Establishment of a corridor between two RAMSAR sites for international ecological significance.
  • Reduction in contaminants entering the Piako River and Firth of Thames.
  • Improvements in water quality.
  • Significant gains in instream and terrestrial biodiversity habitat (providing shade for native fish including tuna, kokopu and inanga which live in and/or use the river as a migratory pathway to and from the sea.)
  • Increase survival rates of native aquatic species and waterfowl in drought periods.

To find out more about the specific projects which received government funding from Jobs for Nature go to https://www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/shovel-ready-projects