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Haast grazing licence granted, but with tight conditions

The Department of Conservation (DOC) has approved an application to continue grazing an area of the Haast River, provided strict conditions are met.

The application from John B Cowan is to graze 736 hectares of public conservation land along the Haast River, located between the Roaring Billy and the confluence of the Landsborough River.

DOC’s Deputy Director General Partnerships, Dr Kay Booth, who made the decision, says the grazing licence has been approved subject to a number of special conditions to manage the impact of cattle on vegetation and the environment.

“This includes fencing off the boundary with Mount Aspiring National Park (true left) and the Conservation Area on the true right. The applicant will also have to fence off pockets of native vegetation, particularly ribbonwood and coprosma wallii, to prevent damage from cattle.

“Grazing has taken place in the Haast Riverbed for over 100 years and the applicant has held a licence to graze over this area for 35 years,” Kay Booth says. “The activity is allowed for in the West Coast Conservation Management Strategy provided any effects are mitigated, and I believe they can be through fencing,” Dr Booth says.

“There’s no question that there must be no grazing in the National Park, which is why I’ve set down specific conditions to fence off the National Park boundary with the grazing lease area.

“We will robustly monitor the effects of the grazing and compliance with the conditions of the licence. If the applicant is not meeting the conditions there may be grounds to revoke the licence.”

The grazing activity relates to 60 beef cows per year and 50 calves for up to 6 months. The licence will expire in 2023.

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