Helleur helping harbour health

Helluer helping harbour health

Forestry in New Zealand received a shake-up last year in the form of the new National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry.

Forestry in New Zealand received a shake-up last year in the form of the new National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry.

Sarah Helleur is Environment Canterbury’s new resource management officer for forestry and has been employed to respond to the changes.

Helleur’s role includes assessing and monitoring applications for commercial forestry from the earthworks, quarrying, and new forestation to overseeing river crossings.

The role also involves working with forestry contractors to achieve good environmental outcomes by ensuring they comply with the new legislation. The focus is on maintaining and improving water quality and protecting the existing indigenous vegetation.

Keeping it clean

Helleur works within the Whakaraupō/Lyttelton Harbour catchment and the Port Hills as well as across Canterbury.

“Harvesting is hugely messy,” Helleur said. “I am checking in that there is going to be no negative environmental effects from the harvest operation.”

Tidying up the site is a key part of ensuring an environmentally-friendly harvest.

“I tell my contractors, they’ve got think like a raindrop. Where is that raindrop going to go and it’s not to go into the waterways. It’s got to be managed and controlled.”

Sediment can be filtered through existing vegetation, while slash – leftover debris from harvesting – needs to be cleared away so it doesn’t end up in the waterways.

Whaka-Ora Healthy Harbour connection

Protecting the waterways ties into one of the key themes of the Whaka-Ora Healthy Harbour project within Whakaraupō/Lyttelton Harbour.

Streams and the harbour are two of the focus areas for the plan, while the rocky outcrops and the indigenous forests are also relevant to commercial forestry.

Whakaraupō programme manager Karen Banwell said Helleur’s work played a valuable role in the execution of the Healthy Harbour plan.

“Keeping sediment out of our waterways is vital to the health and prosperity of the Whakaraupō/Lyttelton Harbour catchment,” Banwell said.

“We are thankful to have Sarah onboard and appreciate the work she is doing in the area.”

There’s also an element of satisfaction that Helleur gets from the role.

“I’m protecting the environment.”