Dairy pollution in a protected Wild River

by frog

The Fishing News reported last year that:

The Mohaka River has to be the jewel in the crown of Hawkes Bay trout fisheries, yet the upper reaches of this magnificent river are in decline due mainly to intense dairy farming and the subsequent effluent run-off.

One of its tributaries is the Taharua River, into which flows pollution from a large industrial dairy farm – a famous one in fact. Taharua Ltd’s owner Crafarms has been convicted multiple times, with the most recent just a fortnight ago.

To illustrate the effect of dairy pollution on waterways, a Hawke’s Bay Fish and Game officer has posted this video showing the change in water quality of the Mohaka River above and below where the Taharua flows into it.

As Baybuzz wrote yesterday:

The source? This small area [the Taharua catchment] is home to a third of the [HB] region’s total dairy herd, some 9,000 dairy cows. Saturate a free-draining pumice soil with that many cows and the situation is right for the increased nutrient levels observed in the upper reaches of the river. …

[Fish and Game officer] Maxwell notes that the Mohaka is the only river in Hawke’s Bay supposedly protected by a Water Protection Order, yet it appears to be deteriorating … in part because the Regional Council lacks the appropriate mechanisms in its Resource Management Plan to regulate the land use that is the suspected cause.

The solution? Upping pollution fines – one positive part of National’s first RMA Bill. Strengthening the RMA – the opposite to what the RMA Bill does. Strengthening and expanding Water Conservation Orders. And some political will to back up Ministers’ bark with some bite.

frog says

Published in Environment & Resource Management by frog on Tue, August 4th, 2009   

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