After leaving school, Ross was accepted by the NZ Forest Service (NZFS) and was trained as a Forest Ranger. Until 1987, Ross had a variety of roles including; 2IC in Mamaku District, management responsibilities across the Kaimai / Mamakau Forest Park, Officer in Charge in Remutaka Forest Park, 2IC of a large section of Kaingaroa Forest and a Senior Lecturer in “Forest Engineering and Environmental Management” at the Forestry Training Centre.
After 1987, Ross joined the BOP Forestry State of Environment (FCNZ) as Operational Planning Manager until 1993 where his duties included harvest planning, roading and environmental management.
Whilst at FCNZ, he was actively involved in trying to determine what this new term ‘Sustainable Management’ in the draft “RMA” legislation meant. After visiting America, Europe and Scandinavia were of little help. It is still confusing and tends to mean “sustainable to what I am currently doing” but not necessarily sustainable in the bigger picture (as I saw on my overseas visits).
Whilst at FCNZ, he recommended a total review of their operations adjacent to water courses. This involved a number of science projects including one that looked for the best streamside management practice in small streams in a pumice environment – very similar to the Wai Kokopu catchment.
From 1993 until 2012, Ross had his own company specialising in Forest Marketing, Harvesting and Environmental Land Use. During this time, he was contracted to Auckland Regional Council to manage the consenting and compliance of all Forestry Operations (Harvesting and Earthworks) in the region. He also oversaw quarrying operations and general water and soil issues on Waiheke Island.
In December 1993, Ross presented a “Streamside Management Policy” drawn up with active input from affected parties of Harvesting and Earthworks operations in the FCNZ, BOP estate. It was ratified in late 1993 and exists to this day.
Ross’s first association with this catchment was in 1970, where he did his Forestry course. Today, Ross and his family own a property on Old Coach Road. Ross been actively advocating for more than seven years for science around the impacts of horticultural crops in the catchment – great progress is now being made in reducing N inputs as a result of this science.