In October 2020 the group started with a wonderfully social and well attended community consultation evening at the Dipton Golf Club. Almost 50 people turned up and had a great time deciding that they wanted a community Catchment Group, and brainstorming ideas for the Catchment Group to do.
They followed this up with a very successful Lunch Under the Willows event in November at Mulligans Park, where 50 people enjoyed a relaxed lunch and heard some great speakers on the history of Dipton and the health of the local waterways. The Dipton Social Committee provided a very tasty BBQ lunch, sponsored by Alliance.
Their next event was a Know Your Issues Field Day at Frazer Brown’s Dairy Farm and Brian Russell’s Sheep & Beef Farm in May, with great discussions on keeping sediment on your farms, creating wetlands, hill country development and good management practices. This was followed by a great woolshed lunch from the Dipton Roadhouse and a chat on Farm Environment Management Plans from B+LNZ.
They then had the opportunity to be involved in a Pastoral Biorefinery workshop run by AgResearch, to see what they thought of this potential emerging ag technology. The biorefinery is a process taking pasture and turning it into a number of other value added products. The group asked questions, gave their feedback and ideas about how it could fit into a farm system and where it had the potential to replace parts of an existing farm system. It was a very though provoking and interesting afternoon.
Next was working with B+LNZ to host two of their new Farm Environment Plan Workshops in June and July. This was the perfect next step for the group following on from their Know Your Issues Field Day in May. Day 1 was all about learning about stream assessments, soil analysis, greenhouse gases, biodiversity, climate change, to name a few. Day 2 was about getting their plans on paper. B+LNZ gave each attendee a folder packed with tools and resources to help them keep on developing their plans.
Finally, the group (along with the other Southland Catchment Groups) took part in a nationwide eDNA (environmental DNA) water quality monitoring programme, and chose Dipton Stream as their site. This will provide valuable information on the plants and animals found in and around New Zealand’s waterways.