Farm­ers help en­sure com­mu­nity safety in flood prone ar­eas

Waihi Leader - - News -

Farm­ers play a ma­jor role in help­ing Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil pro­tect com­mu­ni­ties liv­ing in or near flood pro­tec­tion schemes.

The re­gional coun­cil is re­spon­si­ble for 612 kilo­me­tres of stop­banks which pro­tect 253,000 hectares of land from flood­ing. It re­lies on li­censees who lease land with stop­banks for graz­ing, to main­tain the struc­tures’ in­tegrity.

In­te­grated Catch­ment Man­age­ment Com­mit­tee chair Stu Hus­band said the last two win­ters had been ex­cep­tion­ally wet, and he thanked the farm­ers who had kept stock off the stop­banks dur­ing this time.

“One way we pro­tect the in­tegrity of the stop­banks is by manag­ing veg­e­ta­tion. It’s good to see farm­ers keep­ing stock off the stop­banks in win­ter, when it is wet, to pre­vent them from be­ing dam­aged by tram­pling.

“Many peo­ple do not re­alise that stop­banks are built and shaped from earth (soil) to a spe­cific de­sign and then grassed for cos­metic and sta­bil­ity pur­poses. The grass plays an im­por­tant role to hold the bank to­gether. If the grass is be­ing tram­pled and turned to mud, parts of the stop­bank can be­come weak caus­ing it to po­ten­tially breach or fail in a flood event.

“A stop­bank is only as strong as its weak­est point.”

The coun­cil has 282 graz­ing li­cences for stop­bank land across the Lower Waikato and Hau­raki Plains. The li­censees have the dayto-day re­spon­si­bil­ity of look­ing af­ter the river con­trol land, which con­tains the flood pro­tec­tion as­sets, in­clud­ing soil con­ser­va­tion plant­ings.

The li­cences also gen­er­ate in­come to help off­set some of the main­te­nance costs for the up­keep of the flood pro­tec­tion scheme.

“Safety is pri­or­ity one for the com­mu­nity,” says Coun­cil­lor Hus­band. “And the land use on the coun­cil’s scheme land has to sup­port that pri­or­ity.

“The coun­cil would like to thank those li­censees who con­tinue to man­age these ar­eas to a high stan­dard or who, in the case of any dam­age, make the ap­pro­pri­ate re­pairs as soon as prac­ti­cal.”

Any sur­face dam­age should be re­paired and re­seeded as soon as con­di­tions per­mit. Stock should be ex­cluded from the re­pair area un­til the pas­ture is suf­fi­ciently reestab­lished. A brochure for li­censees is avail­able on the re­gional coun­cil web­site, and can be down­loaded free of charge.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.