Catchment Advisor Team
What does a catchment advisor do?
Catchment Advisors provide advice and assistance to landowners, communities and catchment groups with on-the-ground projects and programmes that contribute to positive environmental outcomes for catchments. This includes improving water quality, enhancing our region’s biodiversity - the flora and fauna, promoting sustainable land management practices and initiatives; and to support the development and aspirations of our communities to protect and enhance the environment.
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 team is responsible for one or two of these areas.
Find out what area you’re in
Each FMU or rohe are a manageable size for setting freshwater objectives and limits and can be a river, a part of, or a group of catchments.
Talking through a rapid habitat assessment at Luggate Creek with Department of Conservation, Wai Wanaka staff and Luggate Creek Community Group.
How we can help
Your Catchment Advisor can help in several ways, and we encourage you to touch base regarding any of the services below. It always helps to know your options when it comes to finding a solution to an issue. Below are just some of the areas we can help:
- Providing advice and support to encourage good land management practices that protect waterways.
- Engaging with and assisting catchment groups, community groups and individual landowners.
- Partnering with primary sector groups to develop and promote industry ‘good management practice’ programmes to minimise impacts of land use on waterways.
- Advice on good practice around storage of effluents and other waste so it doesn’t get into waterways.
- Suggesting ways to enhance biodiversity including finding out what important species you have on your property, pest trapping and planting.
- If your land has a slip or eroding areas, we can help with providing advice around what options you might have to reduce these.
- Find out how healthy your stream is. We can explore the science behind your waterway with your group or school.
- Giving advice on applications for ORC’s ECO Fund
Meet the team
Brooke Clark (Upper Lakes FMU)
Brooke grew up in a rural community in mid Canterbury but unlike her fellow Catchment Advisors, followed a path in horticulture and ecology. After studying ecology and botany at Otago University and a post grad in ecology at Canterbury, she secured a previous role at Otago Regional Council on the Check, Clean Dry campaign team, encouraging water users to Check, Clean, Dry to stop the spread of invasive aquatic pests.
Brooke has also worked on the West Coast as a Nature Guide, and completed an internship at an American university in a Resource Management Masters Programme teaching children outdoor science (winter ecology, spring ecology and fire ecology).
Before joining the Catchment Advisor team, Brooke was at Tongariro National Park creating a schools education programme. Now she thrives on sharing her vast knowledge of biodiversity with local community groups and individuals interested in making the region a better place to live.
Brooke can’t get enough of the outdoors and is often found getting her nature fix from hiking, biking, and skiing.
Contact Brooke today:
Phone 027 254 1215
Max Cameron (Lower Clutha Rohe and Roxburgh Rohe)
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
Pip Eckhoff (Taieri FMU)
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
Harriet Love (Catlins FMU and Dunedin & Coast FMU)
Harriet’s heart has always been in science; from an early interest in chemistry to university study in geology and geography.
After teachers’ college, she spent four years teaching chemistry and maths but missed being out in the field.
Now on ORC’s Catchment Advisor team, Harriet enjoys problem solving farm management issues with landowners, spreading the good word on sustainable practices, and finding ways to retain or improve water quality with local community groups.
It’s a rewarding day’s work and fits around Harriet’s love of spinning and knitting.
Contact Harriet today:
Phone 027 274 0414
Paula Macfie (Dunstan Rohe and Manuherekia Rohe)
Paula comes from a South Otago sheep and beef farm so has farming in her blood.
She has worked as a technician for AgResearch measuring gas emission and collecting water samples, a Field Rep and Nutrient Specialist for Ballance Agri-Nutrients and lived in Perth and Nepal where farming takes quite a different form!
Paula now assists on her partner’s farm and enjoys her time as a Catchment Advisor for ORC helping other farmers with agricultural activities including irrigation, intensive winter grazing and farm system solutions.
And she achieves this all while still fitting in a game of squash and time in the outdoors.
Contact Paula today:
Phone 027 445 4473
Benita MacLean (North Otago FMU)
Benita grew up on a sheep and beef farm in Motueka and had a keen interest in the environment from an early age.
After studying a Bachelor of Agriculture and working on a farm in North Canterbury, she continued her studies with some postgraduate work in environmental management followed by a stint on a farm in Heriot, West Otago.
A role in land management for another council drew Benita north but her love of the Otago region and a position in the Catchment Advisor team at ORC brought her South once again.
Benita now enjoys discussions on links between farming and the environment and finding the balance between production and sustainably conscious farming.
She’s got two green thumbs, knows her trees and likes working on solutions to erosion issues - when she’s not exploring the outdoors by mountain bike.
Contact Benita today:
Phone 021 166 7886
Searching for macroinvertebrates in Albert Town Lagoon with members of the public and Wai Wanaka staff at a Wai Wanaka 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
Lucy Summers (Delivery Lead - Catchments Coastal Otago)
Canadian-born Lucy grew up in Dunedin, where she pursued a Human Geography degree followed by a master’s in Regional and Resource Management.
Lucy held a role as a Resource Planner in Dunedin before heading overseas where she worked as an editor at publishing company Penguin Books in London for 4 years. She then moved into marketing and communications in the UK charity sector for 9 years.
Since moving back to Dunedin, Lucy has been Marketing Manager for Fortune Theatre and Fundraising, Marketing and Communications Manager for social service provider Anglican Family Care. Lucy joined the ORC team in 2018 as a Communications Advisor and moved into her current Delivery Lead role in February 2022.
Well-travelled, and always looking for the next opportunity to explore the great outdoors, Lucy enjoys tramping, camping, gardening and swimming.
Contact Lucy today:
Phone: 021 108 3046
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 good planting areas and the best use of land based on soil type and structure.