Catchment Advisor Team
What does a catchment advisor do?
Catchment Advisors provide advice to landowners, communities and catchment groups who are working towards positive water quality outcomes. This includes carrying out stream health assessments, identifying high risk areas, and practical actions to improve water quality and biodiversity, especially in the riparian zone next to waterways.
ORC has divided the region into five Freshwater Management Units (FMU). The Clutha Mata-Au FMU, being quite large, is further divided into five rohe (area). Each member of the Catchment Advisor team is responsible for one or two of these areas. Find out the coverage of each area.
Demonstrating a rapid habitat assessment at Luggate Creek with Department of Conservation, Wai Wanaka staff and Luggate Creek Community Group.
How we can help
Catchment Advisors can help individuals and groups in the following ways:
- Demonstrate stream health assessment methods so people/ community groups can undertake future stream health assessments independently. These assessments allow comparisons with similar sites and streams and help focus local restoration efforts
- Provide advice on good management practices that can protect waterways, local biodiversity and water use efficiency
- Connect communities with the science about local waterways, as well as other resources and expertise within ORC
- Engage with and assist catchment groups, community groups, primary sector groups and individual landowners
- Give advice on applications for ORC’s ECO Fund
Meet the team
Max Cameron (Lower Clutha Rohe and Catlins FMU)
Max grew up on a family sheep and beef farm in Hyde and studied agricultural management and rural valuation at Lincoln University before working across a number of farms around the South Island.
Max then spent time working on farms in the UK and Ireland and gained considerable experience in intensive indoor agriculture, where entire sheep and cattle farms were housed over winter.
He returned to New Zealand to work on the family farm before joining the Otago Regional Council in a role in the Resource Consent Team. Max has since joined the Catchment Advisor Team where he feels his regulatory background and practical experience can better help farmers on the ground.
Max enjoys time out hunting and fishing but always willing to share his knowledge of a broad range of farming systems and knows his way round a resource consent.
Contact Max today:
Phone 027 208 1901
Becky Clements (Roxburgh Rohe and and Manuherekia Rohe)
Becky grew up in Nelson, tramping a lot with her family and quickly acquired a love for the environment. With friends and family living on farms, she equally enjoyed her time in the agricultural space. Taking Ag Hort in high school, she started a Junior Young Farmers Club; just the first step in bringing these two worlds together.
And while Becky’s artistic talent almost had her attending Massey’s Fine Art School, an epiphany following her gap year in Canada (and a quick google of environmental science), had her quickly changing to conservation and ecology at Lincoln University the very next day.
Becky completed a Master of Conservation and Ecology over the next five years, and a thesis on the threatened Robust Grasshopper (Brachaspis robustus) which are clumsy creatures, built to look like the rocks from the braided riverbeds they inhabit. She also worked as an Animal Behaviour Technician for Zero Invasive Predators while studying, running behavioural trials on mammalian predators.
Following university, Becky secured a position as an ecologist for a pilot project with the NZ Landcare Trust; Farming with Native Biodiversity. Over the next couple of years, she worked with 40 case study farms creating Biodiversity Management plans for them.
Becky brings a wealth of skills to her role as a Catchment Advisor, including biodiversity farm planning which she enjoys, as it brings both her loves – the environment and farming – together.
To satisfy her thirst for adventure on land and sea, you can catch Becky mountain biking, skiing or trying her hand at surfing.
Contact Becky today:
Phone 027 775 5647
Jack Mathieson (Taieri FMU)
Jack grew up just out of Invercargill and has accomplished a lot in his young working career. While attending the University of Otago studying Ecology and Marine Science, Jack also worked with a consultancy group, Aukaha, helping with environmental work and consents.
Jack then spent two years helping to run a freshwater crayfish farm owned by a local forestry company, with duties including contract management, stream sampling, mitigation work and compliance.
While Jack finished his Masters in Ecology, he worked as a wool classer at PGG Wrightson and is no stranger to the farming sector.
He now brings this experience, a background in forestry and farming, and his relationship with his local rūnaka, Puketeraki, to his new role as Catchment Advisor for the Taieri at ORC.
Jack enjoys anything to do with the outdoors, including hunting, fishing and tramping.
Contact Jack today:
Phone 027 975 3284
Searching for macroinvertebrates in Albert Town Lagoon with members of the public and Wai Wānaka staff at a Wai Wānaka conservation week event.
Behind every Catchment Advisor is a Delivery Lead, and Otago is lucky enough to have two. A Delivery Lead’s role is to coordinate the ‘non-regulatory’ environmental improvement efforts of Catchment Advisors across the region. This involves promoting good management practices in liaison with other ORC staff, farmers, growers, catchment and community groups, and industry bodies. They are also involved in managing regionwide projects and relationships with overarching stakeholders.
Simon Park (Delivery Lead - Catchments Central Otago)
Simon joined ORC’s Catchment Advisor team in November 2021 and is based in Alexandra. Simon’s technical expertise is around mitigating nutrient losses from pastoral farming.
This career path started with a master's thesis on measuring nitrate leaching below cow urine patches.
Simon has worked in environmental management for Councils, the Ministry for the Environment, and as a consultant covering such areas as consent preparation, processing consents, policy advice and project management.
Some interesting projects to note include efforts to improve water quality in Lake Taupo and Lake Rotorua, covering regulations and good management practices.
Simon now lives on a pinot noir vineyard just north of Alexandra and spends most weekends landscaping or heading out on the occasional lazy bike ride.
Contact Simon today:
Phone 027 432 3929
Pip Eckhoff (Delivery Lead - Catchments Coastal Otago)
Pip grew up in Fairlie, on a high-country sheep, beef, deer and cropping farm. She attended Massey University and completed a Bachelor of Applied Science with a focus on farm management. While travelling overseas, Pip held a position as a ski instructor before entering the world of finance, and later, managed both the billing and field service teams for Meridian Energy.
She then returned to her roots in a farm-related role, working as a field advisor for Ravensdown, consulting with farmers on nutrient management. This position provided an opportunity for an overseas trip, meeting cooperatives in Germany, inspecting waterbodies, zero emission plants, mines and water testing facilities, sparking an interest in water and a realisation we need to do more here in New Zealand.
After a period of time farming sheep and beef in Roxburgh, bringing up a family, and owning a property maintenance business in Wānaka, Pip has joined the Catchment Advisor team at ORC where she can apply many of her experiences and skills in an advisory role. She now looks for win/win solutions for the farmer and the environment.
Pip likes to take time out skiing or mountain biking.
Contact Pip today:
Phone 027 246 9008
Some of the work we do
A lot of the work the Catchment Advisor team do has them out in the field, travelling the region, educating schools, groups and individuals, explaining some of the science behind the environment and assisting landowners and sectors with practices that are both productive for them but considerate of the environment.
Placing a tracking tunnel outside Te Kura O Take Kārara in Wānaka with pupils from the trapping enquiry group.
The team carrying out a stream study.
An afternoon identifying the best use of land based on soil type and structure.