Aerial watch of catchment compliance

Aerial checks of sediment disturbance and discharges to water from farming and forestry in Otago will start this week.

Otago Regional Council is carrying out its annual flights over the region to check on forestry, farming and other land-use activities.

The council has rules for sediment loss and stock access to waterways.

Regulatory general manager Richard Saunders said ensuring good practice for activities such as winter grazing was essential to protect the environment.

Changes to both regional rules and national environmental standards are expected soon.

Rules are expected to be strengthened to further protect waterways from sediment and nutrient run-off.

"Until the new rules are in place, we strongly encourage good grazing practice over the winter months, both to protect waterways, and to prevent the need for enforcement,” Mr Saunders said.

Measures such as buffer zones between stock and waterways, and managing grazing carefully, helped reduce the likelihood of soil, nitrogen, phosphorus and E.coli running off paddocks into streams, rivers, lakes or wetlands.

The council would follow up on non-compliance identified from the air. Responses could range from issuing advice to prosecution.


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