A keen group of 7 met up in September 2020 to discuss the possibilities and get the ball rolling.
In March 2021 a few of the group put their heads together to work out the best way to entice the community out of their homes and into the pub to talk catchment group opportunities, why be involved and what to do first. They decided hearing from Catchment Group leader extraordinaire Jane Smith, from the NOSLAM (North Otago Sustainable Land Management) Group would do the trick!
Jane very kindly came to Balfour in June 2021 to share her many wisdoms, experiences and to light a motivational fire for the Balfour Community. A social and informative night at the pub was well attended, informative and enjoyed by all.
The group followed up Jane's inspiring and direction-giving night with a meeting at the Balfour Rugby Club in July 2021. This meeting had the focus of understanding the Balfour landscape - soil, geology and water. Scientist, Dr. Clint Rissmann gave a fantastic presentation which sparked some great big-picture ideas for a potential catchment group project.
Up next in August 2021 is a scoping meeting to turn the ideas into a draft plan of action. Then to consult with the catchment group on the draft, make necessary adjustments and look to apply for some funding to help undertake a project... Watch this space!
October 2021 saw the group progress with their plans and invite the Land and Water Science team back for round 2 of landscape discussions and also some what next project planning.
In November 2021 the Ardlussa Catchment leader organised an Enviro day at Balfour School. Coordinator Poppy went along on behalf of the Balfour Catchment and taught the kids about macroinvertebrate bugs that live in streams and how to assess if a stream is in a healthy condition.
In December 2021 an out-of-the-blue opportunity popped up for some Balfour Catchment members to assess some sites and be a part of a wetland water storage project in conjunction with Aqua Intel Aotearoa and Iwi. The fantastic opportunity has progressed and 2 sites have been selected for site analysis and design, one of which will actually be developed into a functioning wetland with water storage capabilities. Very exciting with more info to come soon!
March 2022 rocketed around very quickly! The group managed to finalise their project proposal, consult with members and submit it to the Thriving Southland funding panel. The decision on whether this major project is approved is due end of March - fingers crossed!