Planting to protect land loss to the sea

Eskdale father and son Tom and Dave Clark know the importance of looking after their land for future generations. 

Eskdale father and son Tom and Dave Clark know the importance of looking after their land for future generations.

The family run 400 bulls and 1500 sheep on a 450 hectare property in Eskdale, in the hills behind Napier. There’s a good mix of flat and hill paddocks, but like most of Hawke’s Bay farmland, the area is prone to erosion.

“When my father was young, what is now a quite a deep gully through one paddock was only ankle deep. Over time, heavy rain has taken some of the land. That’s not good for the farm or the waterways,” says Tom.

“It’s all about preventing land loss to the estuary in Napier, and ultimately the sea. We want to be sustainable and do what we can to plant to protect the land.”

With the support of the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, the Clark’s have planted more than 1,000 trees including natives and poplars over the past two years. They’ve also fenced off waterways to keep stock out of a stream that runs through their land.

Dave Clark is passionate about future-proofing their erosion-prone environment.

“When you’re the fifth generation on the farm, the benefits of planting to protect for the future are obvious. Every tree we plant helps keeps soil on the land and our waterways clear.

“We’ve planted a mixture of kōwhai, karaka, tītokiand flaxes, which are great for both erosion control and bird life. Already we’ve seen an improvement in biodiversity on the farm,” says Dave.

The Hawke’s Bay Regional Council is committed to supporting farmers in the region to help stabilise their hills and improve the quality of their streams.

Senior Catchment Advisor, Andrew Burton, says famers like the Clark’s are to be applauded for their efforts.

“They’re a great example of farmers planting for future generations. What they are doing will not only maintain the sustainability of their hills and farm, but also help keep sediment out of the water which keeps our waterways clean.”

There are a variety of ways for farmers to get assistance from the Regional Council to plant to protect their land from erosion.
Visit the website hbrc.govt.nz and search #farmers hub

Photo caption: Fifth generation on the farm, Dave and Keegan Clark