By JESSIE WAITE
New Zealand is labelled a clean and green country and the Otterson family are doing their bit to keep it that way.
The Toko farmers last month received an environmental award from the Taranaki Regional Council for their riparian management and environmental enhancement.
Geoffrey and Polly began planning in 2003, and fencing and planting in 2004, which was recommended in the TRC Riparian Management Plan, which had a number of advantages, says Geoffrey.
``It's meant we can avoid the bank eroding, we are keeping the streams clean and stock are no longer falling into the stream.''
On their 45 ha farm, they have fenced 2.3 kilometres of stream bank and planted 1.7 kilometres to protect the tributaries of the Toko Stream, which flows through their farm.
``It was a lot of trial and error. I've now discovered which plants survive.''
Geoffrey says without the help of the council, he could never have done it.
Native plants are subsidised by the TRC to ensure farmers are not left with a huge bill.
Over the next three years, they plan to complete the remaining 480 metres of riparian planting.
``Receiving the award makes it feel that the planting was worth-while and that somebody recognises us for doing it,'' he says.
The couple also breed and show Gelbvieh cows on their farm which has both dry stock and dairy graziers.