The IFS model is a scoping model constructed from a Mediated Modelling (MM) process which extended over 3 workshop days with 16-18 participants from Horizons Regional Council, Fonterra, Federated Farmers, Fish and Game, Forest and Bird, Department of Conservation, Horowhenua District Council Tarenuiarangi Manawatu Incorporated, Palmerston North City Council, Water & Environmental Care Assn Inc and Manawatu Estuary Trust, Te Kauru (Eastern Hapu Collective Rangitane), Muaupoko Tribal Authority, Te Kauwhata and Vision Manawatu.
The intent of this MM process was to explore big solutions in a collaborative process and use the model to structure the dialogue and the data requirements in projecting broad brush scenarios into the future. Based on the findings during the process, a short term action plan was to be developed.
The model became a high level attempt to scope for trends and inter-linkages between sediment and nutrient loading, degraded water quality and aquatic habitat issues, based on the concerns of the participants. The solutions volunteered by the participants are incorporated in the model to envision whether (1) the amount of funding required and from where would be sourced, and (2) what potential improvements could be anticipated from proposed actions.
Overview of implementation process
The model is limited from an analytical perspective and doesn’t ‘predict’. Instead, it is an attempt to synthesize and inter-relate land use, benefits from ecosystems, the way we in the broadest sense value and manage such systems to, in the long term, continue to derive a broad set of benefits. This is one way to improve understanding and develop leading questions to establish what we know and what knowledge needs to be pursued. The first iteration of the IFS model indicates that the actions developed under the IFS/Manawatu River Leaders Forum action planning process (which continued in a linear fashion after 3 days of model supported dialoguing), may not be big enough to curb current trends to meet the goals set out by the Manawatu River Leader’s Accord in the foreseeable future.
Outputs or findings from DSS and how these have been used
The IFS model connects land use types (including urban) with loadings of sediment and nutrients to the river. Aquatic habitat and values such as mauri are also included. In addition, ecosystem services are derived from land use and land cover. Various management options (solutions) are incorporated into the model, such as just fencing off waterways, riparian planting of waterways, use of herd homes, reforestation of steeper hill country and restoration of wetlands. These actions/solutions come at a cost, which quickly exhaust funding sources, thereby limiting the impact required to achieve the Accord goals.
Recommendations/learning’s from the process
The benefits gained from current actions undertaken are possibly less than the deterioration resulting from higher stocking and population numbers. More fundamental solutions are required to convincingly show how future trends, especially regarding nutrient runoff, are to be curbed. The IFS model has either served its purpose as a scoping model or may be updated if/when the participants are ready to discuss solutions from a shifted perspective. In such an event, the IFS model could then be used as a collaborative, adaptive management tool and develop a second iteration toward increasingly further reaching solutions.