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Earthworks - erosion and sediment control

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Stable sites, healthy environment - let's reduce the impact

Soil erosion is a natural process where gravity, wind and water wear away the soil surface.  Each year in the Waikato region, large areas of land are stripped of vegetation or laid bare because of construction or operating of quarries, subdivisions, roads, cleanfills and other developments.

Without appropriate erosion and sediment control, these activities can result in accelerated on-site erosion and greatly increased sedimentation of waterways, lakes, estuaries and harbours. Various studies show earthworks sites may produce 10 to 100 times more sediment yield compared with pastoral land, and 1000 times more compared with permanent forest cover.

Sediment can damage our waterways’ ecology by: modifying or destroying instream, estuarine and coastal values (such as water quality and habitat) affecting aquatic animals and plants due to: smothering changes in food sources interruptions in lifecycles. These damaging effects often totally change instream communities.

Recovery from the impacts of sediment deposition is slow - years rather than months. As well as ecological changes, sedimentation may: damage water pumps and other structures reduce domestic water quality spoil an area’s appearance affect the spiritual and cultural values that tangata whenua associate with a waterbody.

Find out more in these pages about how you can reduce the impact from your earthworks activities.

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