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

Patience: Drive Safe

Be patient before passing is the AA's message for drivers this Labour weekend.

"People taking crazy risks to get past other vehicles is one of the most dangerous things on the road,” says AA spokesperson Dylan Thomsen.

“The weather is looking good for the long weekend so the roads will be busy. Unfortunately, that also increases the chances of people getting frustrated and trying a risky passing manoeuvre. When they get past, there will probably be more traffic up ahead anyway so it won’t get people there faster.” More>>

 
 

Parliament Today:

Employment Relations Bill: Govt Strains To Get Tea Break Law Through

The Government has been left with egg on its face - failing to get its much-vaunted, but hugely unpopular, meal break law passed in the first week of its new term, Labour spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says. More>>

ALSO:

Guns: Police Association Call To Arm Police Full Time

"The new minister gave his view, that Police do not need to be armed, while standing on the forecourt of parliament. The dark irony was that the interview followed immediately after breaking news of a gunman running amok in the Canadian parliament in Ottawa..." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Tokenism Of New Zealand's Role Against Islamic State

Our contribution against IS will be to send SAS forces to train the Iraqis? That’s like offering trainers to General Custer just as the 7th cavalry reached the Little Big Horn. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Shell And Todd Caught Drilling Without Approval

Multi-national oil company Shell’s New Zealand arm and local energy giant Todd Energy have breached the new law governing New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the Environmental Protection Authority says in an Oct. 10 document released by the Green Party. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Pharmac, Gough Whitlam And Sleater-Kinney

We’re not at the outset of these negotiations. The outset was six years ago, and negotiators were hoping to have some sort of ‘framework’ deal finished in time for the APEC meeting in a few weeks’ time. These ‘extreme’ positions are what we’ve reached near the intended end of the negotiations… More>>

ALSO:

PM Of Many Hats: Questions, No Answers On Whale Oil

Dr RUSSEL NORMAN (Co-Leader – Green) to the Prime Minister: How many times since November 2008 has he spoken with blogger Cameron Slater on the phone and how many times, if any, has he texted him?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): None in my capacity as Prime Minister. More>>

ALSO:

Aussie Investigation Dropped: Call On Minister McCully To Pursue The Case Of Balibo Five

West Papua Action is deeply concerned at the lack of any clear outcome from the Australian Federal Police inquiry into the 1975 deaths of the ‘Balibo Five’ including NZ journalist Gary Cunningham. More>>

ALSO:

'Feed The Kids' Bill: Metiria Turei To Lead Fight On Feeding Hungry Children

Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei is urging all political parties to support the Feed the Kids Bill which she inherited today from Mana leader Hone Harawira. More>>

ALSO:

Parliament Today: State Opening Of Parliament

The House sat at 10.30am on Tuesday before MPs were summoned to hear the Speech from the Throne in the Legislative Council Chamber. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news