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Guide For Improving Stream Water Quality

A comprehensive, practical riparian management guide aimed at rural landowners will help improve stream water quality, the Minister for the Environment, Marian Hobbs, said today.

The Managing Waterways on Farms manual sets out the causes of rural waterway degradation, the reasons why water quality needs to be improved and the options available to achieve that.

Ministry for the Environment chief executive, Denise Church, launched the guide today at Battle Hill – the Wellington Regional Council's farm and forest park in Wellington.

Marian Hobbs said a prosperous and sustainable rural economy was vital to New Zealand’s well-being, but not at the expense of our all important waterways.

"A key part of maintaining our economic prosperity is to ensure that our rural waterways are clean and healthy and that our 'clean green' marketing campaigns are based on reality – not just claims," she said.

Marian Hobbs said agencies and individual landowners should work together on finding and applying solutions to complex waterways issues. The manual is designed as a resource to help achieve this.

"We need to acknowledge the poor state of many of our lowland waterways," she said. "And the truth is, that very little can be achieved without farmer’s co-operation. Farming leaders need to grasp this challenge and help work towards practical solutions."

The Minister said that simple measures such as fencing streams to keep stock out of waterways and proper management of fertiliser and effluent run-off were just some of the options open to farmers and landowners.

"The Ministry for the Environment, through practical measures like the guide launched today, is doing its part to help address this problem. We see Managing Waterways on Farms as an excellent first step and we hope that it will be put to good use."

Marian Hobbs said she was encouraged by draft environmental policies proposed by the country’s biggest exporter, the dairy industry. However, the farming sector needed to make rapid progress on such basic measures as the exclusion of stock from waterways if much needed progress were to be made.

"This is a serious issue and one that we must work rapidly to solve," she said.

Managing Waterways on Farms is available from the Ministry for the Environment or can be downloaded from the Ministry's website – www.mfe.govt.nz


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