Man­ag­ing wa­ter­ways ben­e­fits farm

Matamata Chronicle - - Rural Delivery -

There are many ben­e­fits to pro­tect­ing and man­ag­ing farm wa­ter­ways, so the time and re­sources put into it should be con­sid­ered an in­vest­ment, not a cost.

The in­vest­ment cre­ates di­rect ben­e­fits for the farm, the wa­ter­ways and the broader en­vi­ron­ment.

Wa­ter­ways in­clude rivers, streams, creeks, drains, ponds, swamps and wet­lands that go through or bor­der on the farm – ba­si­cally any­where nat­u­ral water runs or ponds.

The area be­side wa­ter­ways, that forms the con­nec­tion be­tween water and land, is the ri­par­ian or wa­ter­way mar­gin. This mar­gin is an im­por­tant buf­fer be­tween ac­tiv­i­ties on farm land and the nat­u­ral wa­ter­way.

Fu­ture man­ag­ing wa­ter­ways ar­ti­cles will pro­vide prac­ti­cal, how-to ad­vice for plan­ning and get­ting started on wa­ter­way man­age­ment, in­clud­ing fenc­ing, plant­ing and reveg­e­ta­tion, con­trol­ling weeds and pests, pro­tect­ing wet­lands, and con­struct­ing drains and sed­i­ment traps.

Key ben­e­fits of man­ag­ing wa­ter­ways:

Ben­e­fits for (ac­tion steps)

Con­trib­utes to stock se­cu­rity and health.

Can im­prove stock con­trol and graz­ing man­age­ment.

Slows down the buildup of silt and cuts drain main­te­nance.

Con­trib­utes to bank sta­bil­ity.

Re­duces fae­cal bac­te­ria en­ter­ing wa­ter­way.

Re­duces phos­pho­rus lev­els. Re­duces sed­i­ment in­puts. Elim­i­nates stock-in­duced ero­sion.

Less health risk for adults and chil­dren swim­ming or play­ing in the stream.

Water gen­er­ally looks cleaner.

Im­proves habi­tat for fish and other fresh­wa­ter life.

(grassy mar­gins, flax, sedges, etc):

Fur­ther im­proves bank sta­bil­ity, re­duc­ing chan­nel main­te­nance costs.

Fur­ther re­duc­tion in fae­cal bac­te­ria.

Fil­ters phos­pho­rus and sed­i­ment from runoff.

Adds to the ben­e­fits noted for low plant­ing.

Shad­ing keeps the water cooler.

Fur­ther im­proves habi­tat for fish and aquatic life.

Pro­vides habi­tat for na­tive in­sects, birds and plants.

Shade re­duces growth of nui­sance plants and al­gae.

Slows flow of water off the land dur­ing flood­ing

Re­leases water in dry pe­ri­ods, help­ing to main­tain flow in wa­ter­ways

Can im­prove stock safety and make graz­ing man­age­ment eas­ier

En­hances aes­thetic qual­ity of the farm.

Cap­tures sed­i­ment and phos­pho­rus

Re­moves ni­tro­gen from resur­fac­ing ground­wa­ter.

Re­duces flood­ing and low­ers the water ta­ble. Re­duces sed­i­ment in­puts Re­duces an­i­mal dung and urine de­posits into the stream

Im­proves water qual­ity.

Can pro­vide habi­tat for en­dan­gered wet­land species.

Lim­its down­stream move­ment of gravel, sand and silt

Helps main­tain chan­nel ca­pac­ity

Re­duces need for more ex­ten­sive wa­ter­way clear­ing

Cuts ex­ca­va­tion costs.

Re­duces re-sus­pen­sion of sed­i­ment.

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