Wet stopbank warning
Rural communities are being reminded to keep grazing stock off stopbanks as the rain sets in.
The main purpose of stopbanks is to provide essential flood protection for thousands throughout the region, according to the Bay of Plenty Regional Council.
While stopbanks could be grazed by cattle at some times of the year, especially when the ground was firmer in summer, grazing should be kept to a minimum in the winter months.
Principal works engineer Tony Dunlop said wetter soil conditions, combined with heavy animals, could weaken and damage the region’s stopbanks.
‘‘During winter it really is just common sense to keep cattle off the stopbanks as much as possible to prevent the pugging and damage that they can cause. We appreciate that most farmers and lifestyle block owners know this and take care of our community assets.
‘‘Good grass cover on a stopbank is like a ‘skin’ which helps provide protection to the soil structure underneath. So pugging is not just a surface problem, it can cause much greater issues.
‘‘So it is a timely reminder that we will be keeping an eye on our stopbanks to ensure that farmers are doing the right thing.
‘‘There is too much at stake to risk flood damage to the properties and surrounding communities,’’ Dunlop said.
It was an offence to damage these assets and landowners could be held liable for any damage, he said.