Mighty River Power

Beyond compliance - a partnership approach to environmental co-management

Mighty River Power says it takes a multi-layered approach to achieving environmental excellence.

It works to a zero breach target, aiming to meet full compliance with its resource consents. It also works to generate a positive ecological result beyond just compliance, and it has a strong focus on building and nurturing collaborative partnerships with other environmental interest groups.

Whether directly, or through the Waikato Catchment Ecological Enhancement Trust (WCEET), Mighty River Power provides initial funding, and also helps with the planning and management, for a number of local environmental projects.

The company says that this on-going co-management approach allows it to extend its skill base and experience to its many community-based partners.  The confidence and encouragement provided also helps build capacity within those groups so that they can pursue their own vision. The support provided by Mighty River Power creates a culture where environmental management is self-perpetuating, and ‘owned’ and run by its partners in the areas in which they operate.

In the 2012/2013 funding round, conditional support was provided to five groups that went on to receive a larger funding grant from the Waikato River Authority (WRA) – what Mighty River Power calls the ‘multiplier effect’.

For example Waahi Pa, was looking to carry out extensive restoration, enhancement and access improvement initiatives on the Waahi Stream and lake and the Waikato River. Proposed activities include habitat restoration, removal of invasive fish and plants, the fencing of waterways, identification and protection of historic eel and whitebait areas, and the development of recreation areas.

The Pa was unsuccessful in its first application for funding from the WRA, and Mighty River Power provided initial financial support - $10,000 for one year - and guidance to gain funding the second time around.

A member of Mighty River Power’s consents team – who has knowledge of the area and the environment, as well as the writing of applications - assisted the Pa by helping them to come up with a budget and project plan, prepare maps to show the location, scale and scope of the work proposed, and explain why the health and well-being of the river is of such importance.

The project went on to receive almost $44,300 from the WRA in the 2012-13 funding round.

The Environmental Excellence award category is sponsored by PEPANZ.