ENVIRONMENT

New rules for intensively farmed stock around natural waterways

Monday 19 September 2011, 3:22PM
By Environment Southland
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CANTERBURY

<p>Farmers are being advised to begin planning how they will manage their stock to comply with new planning rules which come into force in June next year.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Farmed pigs and dairy cattle will be prohibited from entering natural waterways from June next year,&rdquo; said Environment Canterbury Commissioner Tom Lambie.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We are recommending now is a good time for farmers to review their practices and check their farms to ensure they will be fully compliant with the new rules.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> The new rules around stock access to waterways are detailed in the Canterbury Natural Resources Regional Plan (NRRP), which regulates the sustainable use of resources in the region.<br /> <br /> The NRRP was made operative in June this year after several years of community consultation, including more than 1000 submissions which were considered by two hearing committees.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;All stock farmers should be thinking about how to reduce the impact their animals have on waterways,&rdquo; said Tom Lambie. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;In particular farmers managing intensively farmed stock &ndash; which the NRRP defines as dairy cattle and farmed pigs &ndash; should be working on plans to exclude their stock from waterways by the June 2012 deadline.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Lower intensity farmers who take on extra stock for mob-grazing over the winter need to be extra vigilant to ensure they will be able to comply with the new rules.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Stock are already excluded from waterways under the NRRP if there are significant adverse effects. Such effects include heavy pugging of the bed or banks of waterways; visible discoloration of water; an increase in bacteria levels; or any obvious evidence of faecal matter in waterways.<br /> <br /> The options for farmers to reduce stock access to waterways include new permanent fences; the use of temporary fences, as well as new bridges or culverts.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Farmers may also find they need to change how they manage stock,&rdquo; said Tom Lambie.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This could include restricting stock access at drinking sites or installing new stock watering systems.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> There are also new rules restricting stock access to rivers or lakes near a river bathing site or within 1km of a community drinking water supply. Salmon and inanga spawning sites are also protected, as are a number of specified locations on spring-fed rivers on the Canterbury Plains.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The new stock exclusion rules are strong and it is Environment Canterbury&rsquo;s responsibility to check they are adhered to.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Our preference is to work with farmers to ensure there is widespread understanding of what needs to be done.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Environment Canterbury has a hands-on team which works with farmers and community groups to restore waterways and biodiversity. There is also a team which works closely with industry and farming groups to implement good practice in water metering and develop audited self management systems.<br /> <br /> Environment Canterbury also works closely with industry, agriculture and training organisations to encourage good practice on Canterbury farms.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We are seeing broad agreement across the farming community on the need to ensure we are farming sustainably and meeting our environmental responsibilities,&rdquo; said Tom Lambie.<br /> <br /> See also:<br /> <br /> <a href="http://www.ecan.govt.nz/nrrp">www.ecan.govt.nz/nrrp</a></p>