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Fish & Game salutes sensible decision

Media release from North Canterbury Fish & Game

Fish & Game salutes sensible decision

20 March 2013

Media Release

Fish & Game salutes sensible decision

North Canterbury Fish & Game congratulates Commissioner Robert Nixon’s decision to decline an application to take and use water from the Cass River.

In what Scott Pearson, North Canterbury Fish & Game’s Environmental Officer calls a ‘sensible’ decision, the application by P&E Limited, although genuine in its desire to minimise impacts, has been turned down because of potential adverse effects to the environment.

Pearson stated if this application had been granted “it would have signalled a dangerous precedent; allowing the introduction of large centre pivot irrigation into an already sensitive environment.”

“We would see a greater effect on the surrounding environment, namely the relatively ‘pristine’ high country scenery, lakes and fragile sub-alpine streams within this area.

P&E Limited had sought to divert, take and use water from the Cass River to irrigate farm land near Lake Grasmere; Commissioner Nixon decided that the potential impact, both visually on the landscape and on water quality would be ‘more than minor’.

“This application highlights a worrying trend for more investigation by high country properties into increased irrigation and nutrient inputs, in this case related to more intensive sheep and beef farming.”

Fish & Game believes it raises the wider issue of where irrigation is appropriate from an environmental rather than economic perspective; shallow free draining soils and a normally dry environment with lower levels of nitrogen and phosphorous runoff are being considered for irrigation-led intensification, particularly dairying across Canterbury.

“This application also contained evidence of nitrate discharge from existing land use, such as nitrates leaching into Lake Grasmere.”

Fish & Game would like to acknowledge the co-operation of Forest & Bird, and the over whelming number of public submissions made against this application.

“By their actions in making submissions they have shown public pressure can be a major influence in protecting this sensitive environment”.

ENDS

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