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Keeping stock off stopbanks helps flood protection

Friday 16 June 2017

Keeping stock off stopbanks helps flood protection


As the wetter months set in, Horizons Regional Council is again reminding rural communities to keep grazing stock off stopbanks to ensure they are best able to perform their function as an essential flood protection asset.

The reminder applies to both farmers and owners of lifestyle blocks as wetter soil conditions, combined with heavy animals or smaller animals that dig, can weaken the Region’s stopbanks.

Horizons river works supervisor Paul Turner says the main purpose of stopbanks is to provide essential flood protection for thousands throughout the Region.

“While stopbanks can be grazed by cattle less than 18 months in age when the ground is firm in summer, grazing with cattle is not permitted under any circumstances between 15 June and 15 September.

“As wet weather sets in it’s really important stopbanks maintain enough grass to prevent scouring in a flood event, especially after the past have also few months been so wet. Farmers and landowners know this and in most cases are very cooperative,” says Mr Turner.

“We really appreciate the effort many farmers put in to control stock damage by grazing during the year. We just want to remind people that it is that time of year again and stock does need to be grazed elsewhere to avoid any damage.”

Mr Turner says it is a statutory offence to damage the stopbanks and landowners can be held liable to pay for any resulting repairs.

“The stopbanks not only protect property and production worth millions of dollars, but they also ensure the safety of many in our community.

“That’s why it is so important to reinforce the importance of looking after our stopbanks to anyone who may be grazing stock. Any chain is only as strong as its weakest link and all it takes is one breached section of stopbank to flood hundreds of hectares of farmland,” he says.

Stopbanks are a primary flood protection tool throughout the Region. Horizons manages and maintains almost 490km of stopbanks, protecting over 46,000 hectares of land.

A copy of the stopbank grazing guidelines pamphlet is available to view online at www.horizons.govt.nz with hardcopies available upon request. Also follow Horizons’ Facebook account @HorizonsRegionalCouncil for the months of June and July to learn more about Horizons’ role in flood protection.

Ends


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