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  Council » Policies and Plans » Rules and regulation » Waikato Regional Plan » Waikato Regional Plan (online version) » 4.3 River and Lake Bed Disturbances » 4.3.5 Implementation Methods - Livestock Access to Water Bodies

4.3.5 Implementation Methods - Livestock Access to Water Bodies

4.3.5.1 Environmental Education

Waikato Regional Council will use environmental education programmes to inform landowners of:

  1. the advantages of excluding livestock from the beds and banks of rivers and lakes,
  2. the advantages of fencing riparian areas that are subject to erosion to prevent livestock trampling, subsequent erosion and adverse effects on water quality and aquatic flora and fauna,
  3. how to organise and facilitate ‘Care’ groups as a means to address local destabilisation of river and lake beds and banks,
  4. the advantages of using bridges and culverts for livestock crossings in preference to allowing livestock to have unimpeded access to water bodies.

Advisory Note:

  • Refer also to Method 3.9.4.2 regarding non-point source discharges and Method 5.1.4.1 regarding accelerated erosion.

4.3.5.2 Part XII RMA Enforcement

  1. Waikato Regional Council will apply for enforcement orders, issue abatement notices and use other enforcement mechanisms in Part XII of the RMA, where any of the following effects of livestock access to water bodies occur:
    1. Severe bed or bank erosion.
    2. Discharge of sediment or direct input of effluent to water bodies that compromises the relevant Water Management Class criteria outlined in Chapter 3.2 of this Plan for that river, or that exceeds the suspended solids standards specified in Method 3.2.4.5.
    3. Damage to aquatic habitat (including spawning habitat) through livestock trampling .
    4. Damage to riparian vegetation, particularly in estuarine areas above mean high water springs.
  2. Where, in the opinion of an Waikato Regional Council officer, non-compliance with the conditions of Rule 4.3.5.4 resulting in the effects noted in parts a) to d) occurs Waikato Regional Council will seek an agreement with the landowner on how to avoid, remedy or mitigate the adverse effects over an agreed period of time.
  3. Where there is deliberate ongoing non-compliance with the conditions of Rule 4.3.5.4 resulting in the adverse effects noted in parts a) to d) and where the landowner has had reasonable opportunity to avoid, remedy or mitigate the adverse effects, Waikato Regional Council will take enforcement action.
  4. Where livestock are present in a water body that flows only intermittently Waikato Regional Council will seek an agreement with the land owner as to the most practical means of avoiding, remedying or mitigating adverse effects arising from stock access to that water body. Where the landowner has had reasonable opportunity to avoid, remedy or mitigate the adverse effects but the adverse effects in Rule 4.3.5.4 are still occurring, Waikato Regional Council will take enforcement action.

Advisory Note:

  • Refer also to Methods 3.9.4.10 and 5.1.4.10 of this Plan regarding enforcement provisions for the adverse effects of activities in regard to non-point source discharges, soil disturbance and vegetation destruction.

 

4.3.5.3 Livestock Access

In addition to using a mixture of non regulatory methods and rules with effects based performance standards that must be met where livestock have access to water bodies, Waikato Regional Council will require that livestock be excluded from mapped portions of water bodies identified as priority 1 water bodies in Table 4-1. At Plan review and when allocating funding as part of its Long Term Council Community Plan, Waikato Regional Council will consider the need to extend this requirement for livestock exclusion to those water bodies identified as Priority 2 in Table 4-1. 

 Table 4-1 Priority Water Bodies for Livestock Exclusion1

Water Body Type Priority 1 
– to be mapped as Stock Exclusion Areas in the Regional Plan Maps
Priority 2
Margins of Small, Shallow Lakes (includes peat lakes and other lakes, excluding Lake Taupo)
  • Rotongaro
  • Okowhao
  • Whangape
  • Waikare
  • Serpentine
  • Kuratau
  • Taharoa
  • Rotomanuka
  • Mangakaware
  • Ohinewai
  • Waahi
  • Rotokawau
  • Ngaroto
  • Matahura Catchment
  • Whangape Catchment
  • Waahi Catchment
  • Lake Harihari
Wetlands
  • Whangamarino wetland
  • Kopuatai peat dome
  • Wetlands listed in Waikato Regional Plan 3.7.7
  • Opuatia
  • Mangatawhiri Wetlands
  • Tauhua Wetland
  • Wetlands of the Upper Mokau Basin
Spring-fed dominated surface water Waihou River and tributaries above Whites Rd bridge. Waipa River and tributaries above Toa Bridge
Mokau River and Tributaries North East of SH4
Natural state water bodies Natural State water bodies  
High value rivers 
Rivers and their tributaries upstream of long term water quality monitoring sites listed.
  • Kauaeranga
  • Waiwawa
 
Habitat fringes (banks of flow stable tidally influenced waterways) Sites within about 2 km upstream and 2 km downstream of saltwater intrusion OR if unknown 2 km upstream from Mean High Water Spring.
  • Known:
  • Waikato River Mouth
  • Waihou
  • Kawhia
  • Raglan
  • Mokau
  • Awakino River Mouth
Waikawau River Mouth
Sites and areas of significant conservation value (ASCV), excluding off-shore islands.
Coromandel streams
  • Waiharekeke
  • Te Puru
  • Huakitoetoe
  • Whareroa
  • Mataiterangi
  • Potiki Bay
  • Whenuakite
  • Horseshoe Bay
  • Sandy Bay
  • Fantail Bay
  • Awaroa Stream
  • Whauwhau Stream
  • Waiwawa
  • Kauaeranga
 
Lake Taupo and tributaries Banks of Lake Taupo
All tributaries into Lake Taupo including the Tongariro, Tauranga-Taupo, Waihaha, Hinemaiaia and Waitahanui Rivers
 
Other Rivers   Maramarua River Catchment
Whangamarino River
Mangatawhiri River
Lower Waikato River Banks
Waikato River above Karapiro Dam

 

4.3.5.4 Permitted Activity Rule – Livestock on the Beds and Banks of Rivers and Lakes

Except on the beds and banks of any water body mapped in the Livestock Exclusion Layer in the Waikato Regional Plan Maps:

  1. Livestock entering or crossing part of the bed or bank of a river or lake, and
  2. Any associated discharge of suspended solids;

are permitted activities subject to the following conditions:

  1. The activity shall
    1. comply with the suspended solids discharge standards as set out in Section 3.2.4.5 of this Plan; and
    2. not cause a reduction in visual clarity of more than 10 percent measured at the point of compliance specified in Section 3.2.4.5 of this Plan
  2. Any erosion occurring that leads to a breach condition a) of this Rule as a result of livestock entering or crossing the bed or banks of a river or lake shall be remedied as soon as practicable.
  3. The amount of time livestock spend crossing water bodies shall be minimised by providing crossing sites.
  4. In a grazing situation, the amount of time that livestock spend in the bed or on the banks of lakes and rivers shall be minimised.

Advisory Notes:

  • If conditions a) – d) are not complied with, then the activity is a non-complying activity in accordance with Rule 4.3.5.6.
  • Refer to Method 4.3.5.2 as to how Waikato Regional Council will enforce this Rule.
  • Practical means of compliance with Rule 4.3.5.4 include, but are not limited to:
  1. the use of bridges or culverts
  2. fencing of riparian areas
  3. the use of gates in conjunction with fencing
  4. provision of troughs for livestock watering in adjacent fenced pasture areas
  5. construction of crossings so as to be as direct a route across the bed of the river or lake as is practicable
  6. construction of hard entry and exit points at livestock crossing sites. Also refer to Rule 4.2.11.1 in respect of fords.
  • Compliance with condition a) ii) will be assessed by measurement of horizontal water clarity using a black disc or measurement of turbidity.
  • Erosion in the context of this Rule means banks being broken down, and the river bed being disturbed to the extent that there are adverse effects such as the widening or shallowing of the river channel.
  • When livestock are crossing river beds it is desirable to ensure that:
  1. effective steps are taken to prevent livestock loafing
  2. grazing of bank side vegetation is avoided
  3. trampling of aquatic habitat, or livestock defecating directly into the water or onto the immediate bank is minimised.
  • The actions required to comply with condition d) will vary depending on the intensity of the farming operation. Where stocking rates alongside water bodies are high (for example under rotational grazing systems of mob stocking) the following types of actions will probably be necessary to ensure compliance:
  1. use of permanent or temporary fences along the banks to deter livestock loafing in the stream bed, grazing of bank side vegetation, trampling aquatic habitat or defecating directly into the water or onto the immediate bank.
  2. provision of alternative water supplies so that stock do not need to access the bed of the waterbody.
  3. provision of shade so stock do not need to cool themselves by standing in water.
  • Rule 4.3.5.4 has relatively narrow application and may be difficult to comply with. In circumstances where the bed of a river or lake has a soft or silty substrate, where large herds of livestock are crossing frequently or where stock have unrestricted access, it is unlikely that conditions a) and b) can be satisfied.

 

4.3.5.5 Discretionary Activity – Livestock on the Beds and Banks of Priority One Water Bodies

Where livestock have access to the beds and banks of any water body mapped in the Planning Maps as a Livestock Exclusion Area:

  1. Livestock entering or crossing part of the bed or bank of a river or lake, and
  2. Any associated discharge of suspended solids

are discretionary activities (requiring resource consents) subject to the following standards and terms:

  1. The activity shall:
    1. comply with the suspended solids discharge standards as set out in Section 3.2.4.5 of this Plan; and
    2. not cause a reduction in visual clarity of more than 10 percent measured at the point of compliance specified in Section 3.2.4.5 of this Plan.
  2. Any erosion occurring, that leads to a breach of condition a) of this Rule, as a result of livestock entering or crossing the bed or banks of a river or lake shall be remedied as soon as practicable.
  3. The amount of time livestock spend crossing water bodies shall be minimised by providing crossing sites.
  4. In a grazing situation, the amount of time that livestock spend in the bed or on the banks of lakes and rivers shall be minimised.

Exclusion to this Rule: Where a water body flows only intermittently livestock shall be excluded from that water while it is flowing.

Advisory Note:

  • Information requirements to enable the assessment of any application under this Rule are set out in Section 8.1.3.7. In addition, assessment shall also take into account the matters identified in Policy 4 of Section 4.3.3.

4.3.5.6 Non-Complying Activity – Livestock on the Beds and Banks of Rivers and Lakes

Except as provided for in Rules 4.3.5.4 and 4.3.5.5:

  1. Livestock entering or crossing part of the bed or bank of a river or lake, and
  2. Any associated discharge of suspended solids;

are non-complying activities (requiring resource consent).

Advisory Note:

  • Information requirements to enable the assessment of any application under this Rule are set out in Section 8.1.3.7. In addition, assessment shall also take into account the matters identified in Policy 4 of Section 4.3.3.

 

Explanation and Principal Reasons for Adopting Methods 4.3.5.1 to 4.3.5.6
Methods 4.3.5.1 to 4.3.5.5 implement Policy 5 of Section 4.3.3 and address Issue 4 and parts b), d) and k) of Objective 4.3.2.

Environmental education programmes as provided for in Method 4.3.5.1 are an effective means of providing resource users with information on how they can avoid the adverse effects of livestock in water bodies. Parts 1 to 4 of this method provide for a variety of ways in which Waikato Regional Council will inform farmers of means to prevent livestock access to water bodies and avoid destabilisation of river and lake beds and direct effluent inputs.

Section 17 of the RMA places a duty on every person to avoid, remedy or mitigate adverse environmental effects. Where significant adverse effects as noted in Method 4.3.5.2 occur on the beds of lakes and rivers as a result of an activity, Waikato Regional Council will apply for enforcement orders, abatement notices and other enforcement provisions to require a person to cease or prohibit from commencing the activity. Parts 2 and 3 of this method state how Waikato Regional Council will address the adverse effects noted in Part 1 and how noncompliance with Rule 4.5.5.4 will be enforced. In the first instance Waikato Regional Council is seeking a cooperative approach with landowners to avoid future adverse effects. Where there is deliberate ongoing non-compliance and adverse effects continue to occur enforcement action will be taken unless there is an agreed programme of work to exclude livestock access to water bodies being implemented.

Method 4.3.5.3 identifies that there are a number of water bodies in the Region that are particularly sensitive to the impacts of livestock access and that it is Council’s expectation that over time livestock will no longer have access to those water bodies under any circumstances.

Rule 4.3.5.4 provides a means for farmers whose livestock are entering and crossing the beds of rivers and lakes to comply with the requirements of s13(1) and s15 of the RMA. Without this rule farmers would require a resource consent for bed disturbances and the discharge of suspended solids. The purpose of Rule 4.3.5.4 is to indicate that livestock entering or crossing the beds and banks of rivers and lakes are activities that have the potential to cause significant adverse effects and this activity is therefore subject to conditions.

The conditions are designed to prevent the adverse effects of suspended solids on water quality and to ensure that there is no increase in bed and bank instability. Effluent discharges are not covered in this rule because there are no region wide standards for nitrogen, phosphorous, bacteria or viruses that can be applied to every discharge to water.

Rule 4.3.5.5 recognises that there are instances where livestock access to Priority 1 water bodies will not necessarily result in a breach of the permitted activity standards due to the way in which the farmer manages their livestock. The Rule provides a less restrictive pathway for farmers in these situations than the non-complying activity route for other situations.

Rule 4.3.5.6 provides for livestock entering and crossing the beds and banks of rivers and lakes that are unable to comply with the conditions of Rule 4.3.5.4. The non-complying activity status of this rule signals that this is an activity that has the potential to have significant adverse environmental effects and Waikato Regional Council wishes to retain discretion over whether or not to grant a resource consent for it.

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