Fonterra backs Waituna Lagoon restoration

Groups already working to improve water quality in the Waituna Lagoon near Invercargill have welcomed funding from dairy giant Fonterra.

The company is investing $20 million in projects to restore five sensitive waterways, one each in Northland, Waikato, Canterbury and Southland. A 10-year funding partnership with the Department of Conservation (Doc) was signed on Thursday.

It was not yet known how much of the money would go to Southland, Doc Miruhiku and Southern Islands area manager Andy Roberts said on Friday.

The 3500ha Waituna Wetland Scientific Reserve, which includes Waituna Lagoon, is about 20km southwest of Invercargill. It was one of the first in New Zealand to be officially recognised as a wetland of international importance.

The lagoon is an important habitat for wildfowl, native fish and trout.

Doc and Enviroment Southland had been working intensively for the past three years to improve water quality in the lagoon, Environment Southland sustainability officer Gary Morgan said.


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