Mitigation and best practice options
Here are some simple steps to minimise the effects on water quality and mahinga kai.
Improve stock and land management
Avoid overstocking to prevent soil pugging and compaction, even on well drained soils. Retire steep and eroded land. Provide either natural shade and/or shelter plantings for stock away from streams to reduce the pressure on vegetation situated closer to waterways. Divert road and track run off away from streams. Supply water so that stock do not need to enter streams to drink. Add fish friendly culverts and/or build bridges where stock are required to cross waterways.
Fence waterways (including wetlands)
Fence off areas adjacent to waterways to prevent stock access. Dry stock farming often requires farming large areas of land with many small streams that may be impractical to fence. Reduce impact on these areas by rotating stock frequently and using portable electric fencing to exclude stock from streams.
Plant riparian vegetation
Many regional councils actively support farmers with planting guides and on-farm advice services, and some provide plants at cost.
Apply nutrient management
Employ a nutrient budget and use correct nutrient management practices to minimise losses to ground and surface water. (Fonterra is currently running a program together with Dexcel, farmers, and fertiliser companies to disseminate information to farmers and promote correct nutrient management practices.)
Reduce chemical contaminants
Minimise the risks of former dip, spray booth, or foot bath sites. This may involve testing the area to identify the extent of contamination, restricting access to the area with fencing, ensuring no water is taken from the area, and possibly removing any contaminated soil to an appropriate facility.