Reducing sediment loss explored at field days

Taking part in one of the sediment mitigation field days at Waipahi held by the Pomahaka...
Taking part in one of the sediment mitigation field days at Waipahi held by the Pomahaka Watercare Group (PWCG) last week are (from left) Landcare Otago regional co-ordinator Craig Simpson, environmental adviser Roger MacGibbon and PWCG vice-president Shane Bocock. Photo: Ella Stokes
Sediment mitigation was a hot topic at the field days hosted by the Pomahaka Water Care Group last week.

The farmer-led group has an overall target of improving water health - first on farm and also in the Pomahaka River.

Last week, there were three field days held in the West Otago area to explore solutions to reduce sediment loss, which is a major issue in the area.

Landcare Research environmental scientist and Pomahaka Water Care Group (PWCG) co-ordinator Craig Simpson said they had up to 70 people at one of the events.

''It's great to have consecutive field days as then it's most likely people will be able to come to at least one of them.''

Environmental adviser Roger MacGibbon, of Hamilton, was at the field days to share his knowledge.

Pomahaka Water Care Group members discuss practical ways to reduce sediment loss and how to stop it from entering waterways at an on-farm field day in Waipahi last week. Photo: Ella Stokes
Pomahaka Water Care Group members discuss practical ways to reduce sediment loss and how to stop it from entering waterways at an on-farm field day in Waipahi last week. Photo: Ella Stokes
Mr MacGibbon said farmers always had to work with the compromise between farming activities versus the environment.

He said all regions throughout New Zealand had different contributors to what affected water health but the wet winters, high soil moisture and nature of the land meant West Otago was subject to high amounts of sediment loss.

''It's inevitable if you're going to farm here that you will have sediment loss.''

He said the key was to prevent it from getting into natural water ways.

''From when the rain drop hits the top of the hill you have to think of ways to stop it.''

In mid-November the PWCG will be hosting planting days with local schools to inform them about stream health.

''It's good for the younger generation to be aware of what's happening to the water,'' Mr Simpson said.

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