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fereed paper

COMMUNITY-BASED INTEGRATED CATCHMENT MANAGEMENT IN NEW ZEALAND N 8 Edgar Abstract The NZ Landcare Trust, with funding from the New Zealand Ministry for the Environment, undertook a two-year national proj ect aimed at sharing community best practice in integrated catchment management (ICM). In recent years, ICM projects have increased in number in New Zealand , and there is a strong component of community involvement in these projects. Many participants within community-based ICM projects feel that they operate independently of other project initiatives across New Zealand. There is a concern that a lack of communication and exchange of information occurs between individual ICM projects. T he Ministry for the Environment responded to these concerns by funding a project initiative that would enhance the national co-ordination and sharing of information from communitybased projects. This paper focuses on describing the project's objectives and methodology; examining some of the lessons learnt from ICM participants; derailing the communications tools used to enhance national information sharing about ICM; and making recommendations for the national co-ordination of community-based ICM.

Introduction There are a wide range of definitions for Integrated Catchment M anagement (ICM). Essentially, it is based o n a systematic effort to understand the linkages between ecosystems, resources and people (Frieder, 1997). ICM is an ap proach that recogn ises the catchment, watershed or river basin as an appropriate geographic organising unit for managing natural resources in a context that includes social and economic considerations. ICM places a primary emphasis on people and developing a process through wh ich people can develop a vision, agree on shared values and behaviours, make informed decisions and act together to manage che natural resources of their catchment (Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council, 2001 ). Ultimately, the

62 JUNE 2006 Water

Lake Brunner catchment, West Coast.

goal ofICM is to find a more effe ctive way to meet the constantly evolving water- related needs of society today.

States, substantial capital and voluntary investments are often being made within these New Zealand catchment proj ects (Bellamy, 1999; Conley and Moote, 2003).

Hearing the stories of real people undertaking real projects and making a real difference on the ground.

The NZ Landcare Trust in conjunction with New Zealand's M inistry for che Environment has now completed a twoyear project entitled: "Integrated catchment management: sharing best practise nationally" . The project's goal was co identify lessons that have been learnt from the implementation of a broad range of local, community-based ICM projects across the country. A key focus of the proj ect was co develop a range of communication cools to ensure the national sharing of information from these proj ects with ICM profession als and participants. The purpose of chis paper is to provide an overview of che outcomes of chis project.

In recent times, che focus on ICM has grown within New Zealand. Many projects have developed at the community level out of concern for the health of parts of the local envi ronment. In particular, concern over the declining water q uality of New Zealand's freshwater ecosystems (Edgar, 1999; Parkyn et al., 2002; Parliamentary Commissioner for the E nvironment, 2004). These community-based ICM projects rend to operate independently of each other and there is a general lack of communication and exchange of information between each project. As in Australia and the United

Journal of the Australian Water Association

The National ICM Project This Ministry for the Environment Sustainable Management Fund proj ect was aimed at sharing comm unity level best practice in integrated catchment management nationally. T he purpose of the

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Water Journal June 2006  

Water Journal June 2006