Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


Better ‘banking’, better water

Better ‘banking’, better water

By Bala Tikkisetty

Winter weather can place increased strain on the banks of farm waterways, increasing the risk of erosion from them affecting water quality.

So it’s timely to look at the issues involved in erosion generally and land management practices that can contribute to contamination of waterways.

Some of our Waikato rivers, lakes and streams have eroding banks, silted beds, water weed infestation and debatable water quality, often the result of sub-optimal land management practices.

Such practices – whether related to farming, forestry, roading or horticulture – can cause soil erosion and a build-up of contaminants such as bacteria and chemicals which end up being washed into watercourses during heavy rain.

Stock wading in water, poor cowshed effluent treatment, overgrazing, inappropriate fertiliser application, pugging and poor runoff control on cultivated land, roads and tracks can all contribute to the contamination of water bodies. Bacteria can cause water-borne diseases like giardia and cryptosporidium which in turn can cause serious health problems, while nitrates and phosphates can also create severe health disorders both for people and stock, and contribute to algal growth.

Good management of the banks of waterways can reduce these types of effects by stabilising the banks and providing a filter for contaminants washing off the land. Effective management of the banks – or riparian strips – is a key to protecting aquatic life and improving water quality generally.

Careful selection of the mix of species planted within riparian areas makes it possible to beneficially modify what’s happening with light, temperature, nutrient and sediment loads, channel and bank stability, carbon inputs, and habitat for terrestrial species.

A well-managed riparian margin will filter out contaminants, such as sediments and nutrients from farm run-off, including soil, animal dung and urine, and agricultural chemicals.

Shrubs and trees with extensive root systems, which tolerate moist soil conditions and frequent silt deposits, are ideal for stream bank erosion control. They physically hold the stream banks together and some tree roots also protect the streambed, limiting the scouring effect of running water.

Streamside vegetation provides shade which cools the water, improves dissolved oxygen levels, helps aquatic life and reduces the risk of algal blooms.

Suitable plant species beside waterways also provide cover for spawning fish, and food and habitat for nesting and juvenile birds. Such planting helps water plants and invertebrates become numerous, providing a better food supply for fish. Streamside trees can link areas of native vegetation together, extending habitat for native birds.

Besides environmental benefits, riparian planting can also help a farm’s economic bottom line.

Well designed riparian fencing can be used to improve subdivision, help with mustering, and protect animals from drowning or getting stuck in wet areas. The provision of shelter and shade is recognised as an important aspect of animal production and health.

Improved milk grades are documented where dairy sheds no longer draw water from contaminated streams. On sheep and beef properties, stock are in better health and have faster weight gain when water sources are no longer contaminated.

The council’s catchment management officers are available through our freephone 0800 800 401 to provide advice on good riparian management.

Bala Tikkisetty is a sustainable agriculture coordinator at Waikato Regional Council. Contact him on 0800 800401 or email bala.tikkisetty@waikatoregion.govt.nz

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Greens: Russel Norman To Stand Down As Co-Leader

Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman has announced today that he will stand down as leader at the party’s Annual General Meeting in May. Dr Norman will remain as Co-leader and retain his finance and climate change portfolios until the AGM.

“After nearly a decade as Co-leader, now is a good time to find a new challenge for myself, and to spend more time with my family” said Dr Norman.

“This is my ninth year as Co-leader and I think it’s time for a change. Now is a good time for new leadership for the Party. My replacement will start from a strengthened base and will have a full parliamentary term to establish himself in the role and take the Greens into government in 2017." More>>

 

Gordon Campbell: On The Eleanor Catton Rumpus

If anyone was in doubt about the accuracy of the comments made in India by Eleanor Catton, the reaction from some quarters here at home has gone a long way to proving her point… More>>

ALSO:

More Rent Assistance, Less State-Owned Housing: John Key Speech - Next Steps In Social Housing

"We are going to ensure that more people get into social housing over the next three years, whether that is run by Housing New Zealand or a community provider. The social housing budget provides for around 62,000 income-related rent subsidies a year. We are committed to increasing that to around 65,000 subsidies by 2017/18, which will cost an extra $40 million a year." More>>

ALSO:

The Future Of Work: Andrew Little - State Of The Nation 2015

In 2005 when I led the EPMU we worked together with Air New Zealand to find a way to keep engineering jobs that were heading overseas. A lot of these workers were people I’d known for years and they were facing not just losing their jobs but not being able to find the kind of work they do without going overseas. A lot of people were facing personal and financial upheaval.... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Sabin Case, The Pressures On Greece And (Songs About) Coyotes

Mike Sabin is a National MP, and the current chairman of Parliament’s law and order committee. Yet reportedly, he is being investigated by the Police over an assault complaint... However, the PM will not comment on any aspect of the story. More>>

ALSO:

Houses, ISIS, King (& Catton): PM Post-Cabinet Press Conference

The Prime Minister met with reporters to discuss: • Social housing, the Auckland housing market • The prospect of joining international forces to combat ISIS • David Bain’s compensation • The lowering of the flag for the King of Saudi Arabia's death ... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Tomorrow’s Speeches By John Key And Andrew Little

The Key government has already kicked off the political year on a stridently ideological note, with Environment Minister Nick Smith choosing to lay all manner of sins at the door of the RMA. Tomorrow, the government will wheeling out its best salesman – Prime Minister John Key – to sell its plans for state housing… . More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news